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Straffrättslig symbollagstiftning - ett straffrättspolitiskt under eller vidunder?

Rönnqvist, Wilhelm LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Straffrättslig symbollagstiftning är ett svårdefinierat begrepp. En utgångspunkt är emellertid att begreppet har en inneboende negativ laddning. Att sätta etiketten symbollagstiftning på en strafflag innebär också att kritik riktas mot strafflagen. Ett viss mått av försiktighet måste därför iakttas vid symbollagstiftningsanalysen. Symbollagstiftning är inte en matematisk formel, snarare en misstanke om ett fenomen. Symbollagstiftning är heller inte en fråga om förhållandet ”antingen-eller”, snarare ”mer-mindre”. Det är därför lämpligare att tala om en lags symbolvärde.

Den viktigaste delen av symbollagstiftningsbedömningen, är den om lagens manifesta och (eventuella) dolda syften. De manifesta syftena är de presenterade syftena med... (More)
Straffrättslig symbollagstiftning är ett svårdefinierat begrepp. En utgångspunkt är emellertid att begreppet har en inneboende negativ laddning. Att sätta etiketten symbollagstiftning på en strafflag innebär också att kritik riktas mot strafflagen. Ett viss mått av försiktighet måste därför iakttas vid symbollagstiftningsanalysen. Symbollagstiftning är inte en matematisk formel, snarare en misstanke om ett fenomen. Symbollagstiftning är heller inte en fråga om förhållandet ”antingen-eller”, snarare ”mer-mindre”. Det är därför lämpligare att tala om en lags symbolvärde.

Den viktigaste delen av symbollagstiftningsbedömningen, är den om lagens manifesta och (eventuella) dolda syften. De manifesta syftena är de presenterade syftena med lagstiftningen. I de manifesta syftena inbegrips anledningen till lagstiftningen och de åsyftade effekterna och följderna med lagstiftningen (t.ex. att minska brottsligheten). Lagens dolda syften är syften med lagstiftningen men som inte presenteras. Den främsta anledningen till att de inte presenteras är för att de då inte skulle godkännas. Dolda syften är främst politiska motiv, ofta att politiker vill visa sig handlingskraftiga och visa att något görs mot t.ex. våldsbrottslighet.

Vid bedömningen av en lags symbolvärde ska de manifesta syftena ställas mot de dolda. I de fall de dolda syftena väger över, kan vi tala om en lag med högt symbolvärde. Om en lag har övervägande dolda syften, är också en annan, för symbollagstiftningsanalysen viktig beståndsdel vid handen: vilseledandet. Vilseledandet är uppfyllt om de dolda syftena väger över, eftersom de manifesta syftena då inte är de primära - politiker vilseleder allmänheten genom att anta lagar vars primära syfte inte är att de presenterade.

Symbollagstiftning kan få många negativa konsekvenser. Den allra vikigaste torde vara att symbollagstiftning riskerar att undergräva allmänhetens förtroende till straffrätten och dess aktörer.
Det är också av vikt att sätta symbollagstiftning i ett större straff- och kriminalpolitiskt sammanhang. Analysen gör sig bäst utifrån de Jareborgska begreppen offensiv och defensiv straffrättspolitik. De flesta (om inte alla) straffrättslärda, inklusive mig själv, är överens om att vi rör oss i en offensiv straffrättspolitisk inriktning. Det kan delvis förklaras av en ökad politisering av straff- och kriminalpolitiken. Den ökade politiseringen av straffrätten tar sig bl.a. uttryck i hänvisningar till ett allmänt rättsmedvetande eller liknande godtyckliga begrepp (som i sin tur kan sägas vara grundade på felaktiga föreställningar om brott och straff, ofta förmedlade av media). Men den ökade politiseringen tar sig också uttryck i symbollagstiftning. Det kan nämligen också sägas att symbollagstiftning, i allra högsta grad, bidrar till en politisering av straff- och kriminalpolitiken och därigenom till dess offensiva inriktning - symbollagstiftningens dolda syften är ju i grund och botten politiska motiv.

Att vi ens talar om straffrättslig symbollagstiftning är, enligt mig, ytterligare ett tecken på att dagens straffrättsklimat har en offensiv inriktning. Kravet som ställs på strafflagar är genomgående att de ska ha en viss effektivitet, uppfylla vissa mål eller fylla viss funktion, vid äventyr av att annars betecknas som symbollagar. Samma krav är framträdande även i den offensiva inriktningen. Att vi ställer ett sådant krav på effektivitet och måluppfyllelse, är därför ett tecken på att vi befinner oss i ett offensivt straffrättsklimat. Straffrättslig symbollagstiftning säger på så sätt återigen något om det straffrättspolitiska klimatet.

Symbollagstiftning och offensiv straffrättspolitik kan således på många sätt sägas gå hand i hand. Trots det är det min bedömning att även enligt den offensiva inriktningen, symbollagstiftning måste betraktas som ett vidunder. Ett viktigt krav enligt den offensiva inriktningen är att strafflagstiftningen är effektiv och uppfyller sina mål, framförallt vad gäller brottsbekämpning. Det är just på denna punkt som symbollagstiftningen fallerar. (Less)
Abstract
Symbolic criminal legislation is hard to define. Despite that, it is obvious that the concept is inherently negative. To label a criminal act “symbolic”, is also a way of criticizing it. It is therefore important to be cautious while analyzing the concept. Symbolic legislation is not a mathematic formula, rather a suspicion of a phenomenon. Neither is symbolic legislation a question of “either-or”, rather a question of “more-less”. The matter should therefore be addressed in terms of “an act’s symbolic value”.

The most important part of the symbolic legislation analysis, is the act’s manifested purposes and (eventual) hidden purposes. The manifested purposes are the presented purposes. That is, the reason why the legislation was enacted... (More)
Symbolic criminal legislation is hard to define. Despite that, it is obvious that the concept is inherently negative. To label a criminal act “symbolic”, is also a way of criticizing it. It is therefore important to be cautious while analyzing the concept. Symbolic legislation is not a mathematic formula, rather a suspicion of a phenomenon. Neither is symbolic legislation a question of “either-or”, rather a question of “more-less”. The matter should therefore be addressed in terms of “an act’s symbolic value”.

The most important part of the symbolic legislation analysis, is the act’s manifested purposes and (eventual) hidden purposes. The manifested purposes are the presented purposes. That is, the reason why the legislation was enacted and the expected effects and outcomes of the legislation. The hidden purposes are purposes that are not presented, because if they would, they would not be accepted. Hidden purposes are often embodied in political motives - politicians want to show that they are energetic and that something is being done about e.g. domestic violence.

In the analysis of an act’s symbolic value, the manifested purposes must face the hidden purposes. In case the hidden purposes are predominant, the act is to consider as one with high symbolic value. If the act has predominantly hidden purposes, it is also safe to say that another important part of symbolic criminal legislation is at hand: the deception. The act is deceptive if the hidden purposes are predominant since the manifested purpose then is not the primary purpose. In this way, politicians mislead the public by enacting acts and laws whose primary purposes are not the presented ones.

Symbolic criminal legislation can give various negative consequences. The most important one is that symbolic criminal legislation undermines the public’s trust for criminal law and the actors within that field.

It is also relevant to put symbolic criminal legislation in a wider, criminal politics and criminal law policy perspective. A useful tool for analyzing criminal law policy has been developed by Swedish Prof. Nils Jareborg: the defensive model (emphasizes legal security) and the offensive approach (emphasizes efficiency and crime fighting). Most authors, including myself, find that we are moving towards the offensive approach. That is partly explained by an increased politicization of criminal law and criminal law policy. The increased politicization of criminal law and criminal law policy is apparent when legislators e.g. make references to the “general will of the people” or similar arbitrary concepts (that, in many cases are based on a misperception of crime and punishment, often conveyed through the media.) But, it is also safe to say that symbolic criminal legislation contributes to an increased politicization of criminal law policy and thereby also to an offensive approach – the hidden purposes behind symbolic criminal legislation is, more than anything, political motives.

The fact that we are even discussing and dealing with symbolic criminal law is, in my view, a sign of an offensive approach to criminal law policy. We demand efficient, target achieving and dynamic laws – if the laws fail to meet these demands, we classify them as symbolic. The same demand is, as earlier mentioned, also prominent in the offensive approach. Hence, to have such demands and to place such burdens on the legislation is a sign of a society with an offensive criminal policy approach. Yet again, symbolic criminal law tells us something about the criminal law policy perspective.

Symbolic criminal legislation and the offensive approach to criminal law policy are many ways similar. Despite that, even to the offensive approach, symbolic criminal legislation must be regarded as something heinous. One important factor for the offensive approach is, as earlier stated, efficiency. Laws need to be efficient and target achieving. The biggest problem with symbolic criminal legislation is that it fails to be efficient, target achieving and does not meet the expected outcomes. Therefore, symbolic criminal legislation must be regarded as unacceptable even to the offensive approach. (Less)
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author
Rönnqvist, Wilhelm LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Symbolic criminal legislation - a criminal law policy miracle or monster?
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
straffrättspolitik, symbollagstiftning, Straffrätt
language
Swedish
id
2629393
date added to LUP
2012-08-31 15:41:07
date last changed
2012-08-31 15:41:07
@misc{2629393,
  abstract     = {Symbolic criminal legislation is hard to define. Despite that, it is obvious that the concept is inherently negative. To label a criminal act “symbolic”, is also a way of criticizing it. It is therefore important to be cautious while analyzing the concept. Symbolic legislation is not a mathematic formula, rather a suspicion of a phenomenon. Neither is symbolic legislation a question of “either-or”, rather a question of “more-less”. The matter should therefore be addressed in terms of “an act’s symbolic value”.

The most important part of the symbolic legislation analysis, is the act’s manifested purposes and (eventual) hidden purposes. The manifested purposes are the presented purposes. That is, the reason why the legislation was enacted and the expected effects and outcomes of the legislation. The hidden purposes are purposes that are not presented, because if they would, they would not be accepted. Hidden purposes are often embodied in political motives - politicians want to show that they are energetic and that something is being done about e.g. domestic violence.

In the analysis of an act’s symbolic value, the manifested purposes must face the hidden purposes. In case the hidden purposes are predominant, the act is to consider as one with high symbolic value. If the act has predominantly hidden purposes, it is also safe to say that another important part of symbolic criminal legislation is at hand: the deception. The act is deceptive if the hidden purposes are predominant since the manifested purpose then is not the primary purpose. In this way, politicians mislead the public by enacting acts and laws whose primary purposes are not the presented ones.

Symbolic criminal legislation can give various negative consequences. The most important one is that symbolic criminal legislation undermines the public’s trust for criminal law and the actors within that field.

It is also relevant to put symbolic criminal legislation in a wider, criminal politics and criminal law policy perspective. A useful tool for analyzing criminal law policy has been developed by Swedish Prof. Nils Jareborg: the defensive model (emphasizes legal security) and the offensive approach (emphasizes efficiency and crime fighting). Most authors, including myself, find that we are moving towards the offensive approach. That is partly explained by an increased politicization of criminal law and criminal law policy. The increased politicization of criminal law and criminal law policy is apparent when legislators e.g. make references to the “general will of the people” or similar arbitrary concepts (that, in many cases are based on a misperception of crime and punishment, often conveyed through the media.) But, it is also safe to say that symbolic criminal legislation contributes to an increased politicization of criminal law policy and thereby also to an offensive approach – the hidden purposes behind symbolic criminal legislation is, more than anything, political motives.

The fact that we are even discussing and dealing with symbolic criminal law is, in my view, a sign of an offensive approach to criminal law policy. We demand efficient, target achieving and dynamic laws – if the laws fail to meet these demands, we classify them as symbolic. The same demand is, as earlier mentioned, also prominent in the offensive approach. Hence, to have such demands and to place such burdens on the legislation is a sign of a society with an offensive criminal policy approach. Yet again, symbolic criminal law tells us something about the criminal law policy perspective.

Symbolic criminal legislation and the offensive approach to criminal law policy are many ways similar. Despite that, even to the offensive approach, symbolic criminal legislation must be regarded as something heinous. One important factor for the offensive approach is, as earlier stated, efficiency. Laws need to be efficient and target achieving. The biggest problem with symbolic criminal legislation is that it fails to be efficient, target achieving and does not meet the expected outcomes. Therefore, symbolic criminal legislation must be regarded as unacceptable even to the offensive approach.},
  author       = {Rönnqvist, Wilhelm},
  keyword      = {straffrättspolitik,symbollagstiftning,Straffrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Straffrättslig symbollagstiftning - ett straffrättspolitiskt under eller vidunder?},
  year         = {2012},
}