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On John Austin and punishments

Subject and Keywords:

punishment   criminal law   the deterrence theories of punishment in criminal law   liability   John Austin   responsibility


The main purpose of the article is the conception of punishment emerging from the legal philosophy of John Austin. John Austin is commonly and accurately credited with propounding a sanctions-based conception of law. From the point of view of criminal law John Austin can be seen as a deterrence-oriented theorist. Difficulties arise when criminal law, tort law, administrative law and others are taken to serve exactly the same fundamental purpose. Austin says nothing about the features of punishments that differentiate them from sanctions of other types. It can be seen that Austin does not avoid the problem. From Austin’s point of view specifics or features of sanctions are irrelevant. In general, sanctions are to protect ordo iuris and social stability. As a utilitarian, Austin uses a simple happiness calculus, in which every stimulus (ie. sanction) has the same functions. Sanctions are employed to minimize the utility (and probability) of crimes and other forbidden acts. This article analyzes the consequences of such an approach to sanctions or punishments.

Place of publishing:



E-Wydawnictwo. Prawnicza i Ekonomiczna Biblioteka Cyfrowa. Wydział Prawa, Administracji i Ekonomii Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego

Date issued:


Detailed Type:



ISSN 2450-3932


pol   eng

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Folia Iuridica Wratislaviensis

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The use of this material is allowed only with accordance of applicable rules of fair use or other exceptions provided by law, and any broader use requires the permission of the authorized entity


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Rights holder:

Copyright by Michał Peno

Location of original object:

Library of the Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics

Autor opisu:

WR U/PAdjm   TK