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Introducing a standard of legal insanity: The case of Sweden compared to The Netherlands

Journal article
Authors Susanna Radovic
Gerben Meynen
Tova Bennet
Published in International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume 40
Pages 43 - 49
ISSN 0160-2527
Publication year 2015
Published at Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Pages 43 - 49
Language en
Keywords Insanity defence; The Netherlands; Sweden; Legal insanity; Accountability
Subject categories Psychiatry, Law, Theoretical philosophy


A recent governmental report has suggested that the notion of insanity, which has not been a relevant concept in Swedish criminal law for the last 50 years, should be reintroduced into the criminal justice system. This move has generated a debate over the most appropriate criteria to be included in a legal standard for insanity. We consider the fundamental question of whether a legal standard is required when introducing insanity, by looking at a legal system in which legal insanity is available but where no standard is used: The Netherlands. Overall, a review of advantages and disadvantages leads to the conclusion that such a standard is necessary. What exactly should that standard be? Is the development of different “grades” of insanity desirable? Legal considerations concerning what is essentially a legal notion should predominate in making these determinations—informed by psychiatric and other relevant scientific findings.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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