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Fascists RH

German soldiers march near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 14 June 1940

Dr Stephen Skinner Convenes a Workshop Examining Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist Regimes

How can we understand the nature and role of criminal law and justice under fascist and authoritarian regimes? How might we understand such regimes' ideological foundations and the way they shape and are supported by criminal law? To what extent is an opposition between democratic and anti-democratic beliefs and principles evident in the law and practice of such politico-legal orders? 

These and other related questions were addressed during an international workshop convened by Dr Stephen Skinner (Centre for European Legal Studies) at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London on 10th-11th September 2015. Entitled 'Anti-Democratic Ideology and Criminal Law under Fascist, National-Socialist and Authoritarian Regimes', the workshop involved five themed panels with speakers from nine countries and two plenary lectures given by Professor David Fraser (University of Nottingham, UK) and Professor Luigi Lacchè (University of Macerata, Italy). Among the issues discussed were the legal status of the Shoah and Nazi belief in legality; the significance of criminal justice for the Fascist regime in Italy and the ideological dimensions of specific aspects of its criminal law; practices of legal repression in interwar Japan, Franco's Spain and apartheid South Africa; ideology and the formulation of penal norms in authoritarian Romania and Brazil; and currents in international criminology in the early twentieth century. Dr Skinner's paper outlined a comparative analysis of the law on the use of force in interwar Italy and England in relation to principles of equality and State power. Pushing forward the international research agenda in the comparative legal history of some of the twentieth century's most repressive legal orders, the workshop generated fruitful discussions and has already been a springboard for developing new collaborative projects.

Date: 28 September 2015

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