Benjamin Goold

 
Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not looking for graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows. Please do not contact the faculty member with any such requests.

Professor

Research Classification

Law

Research Interests

Privacy
security
Criminal Justice
Human Rights
Border Studies
migration

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
Overlapping criminal offences and gendered violence : what is overlap and when is it part of the problem of overcriminalisation? (2018)

This dissertation examines when overlapping criminal offences contribute to the problem of overcriminalisation, using two case studies of gendered harms that are specifically criminalised by offences that overlap with other more general offences.Overcriminalisation literature notes that the “too much-ness” of the criminal law extends in two directions. Criminal law is both: too broad, criminalising conduct that it should not, and too deep, frequently criminalising the conduct that it does cover by many overlapping offences. However, the existing literature focuses most of its energies on issues of overbreadth, with overdepth mentioned frequently, but in a more cursory manner. This thesis addresses this gap in the literature. In assessing what portion of overlapping offences is part of overcriminalisation, it treats two questions separately: what does it mean in descriptive terms to say that two or more offences overlap with one another? and when in normative terms is descriptive overlap between two offences part of the problem of overcriminalisation? A key original contribution of my research is a taxonomical analysis of types of descriptive overlap. I also propose and apply to two case studies a collection of normative criteria which help to distinguish benign or justified overlap from problematic overlap. The thesis uses two gendered harm case studies to investigate these conceptual and philosophical dimensions of overlap in the criminal law: New Zealand’s proposed offence of non-fatal strangulation in an intimate partner violence context, which will descriptively overlap with general assault offences; and offences of sexual violence known in various jurisdictions as rape or sexual assault, which can be seen as overlapping with general assault offences. Gendered harm is a pressing problem in the Anglo-American jurisdictions that are the focus of this thesis. It is a problem the law historically has addressed badly. This makes gendered harm an illuminating lens through which to consider questions of overlap: the importance of effectively criminalising gendered harms such as strangulation in intimate partner violence settings makes it no less pressing that overlapping offences be scrutinised to assess whether they contribute to overcriminalisation.

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Reasons for the preventive shift of Chinese criminal law : using the eighth amendment as a case study (2016)

This dissertation concerns reasons for the preventive shift in Chinese criminal law; that is, the social, legal, and political rationales of the shift. It is inspired by the eighth amendment of Chinese criminal law in 2011 which amended several penalties related to road, drug, and environmental safety. The eighth amendment stemmed from a series of nationally-known incidents that triggered widespread public dissatisfaction with the rules and functions of the Chinese criminal justice system. This dissatisfaction would eventually result in a crisis of the government and the legal system. Based on John Kingdon’s theory of the multiple streams (“problems, policies and politics”), this dissertation seeks to explain the origins of the legislative process and its outcomes by examining the role of public opinion, policy experts, and political actors in the making of Chinese criminal law. It also uses practices of the UK and the US as references. The dissertation claims that in authoritarian China, the prominence of risk control through criminal justice methods is a state response to uncertainties generated through reforms under the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership. This shift is the result of Chinese criminal law making, driven by the policy of pursuing public security. Under the influence of such policy, the legislation not only acts quickly in response to public emotion, but also to the social control demands of the police. It also gains more support through the responsive and inclusive process of legislation, even though most of the time it remains a consultation with the elites in the framework set by the CCP. In China, the current legislation of criminal law enhances the CCP’s legitimacy. However, compared with the West, how to restrain the expansion of criminal law is a more critical issue for consideration for the authoritarian state like China.

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An imperial beast of different species or international justice? : universal jurisdiction and the African Union’s opposition (2015)

This dissertation is a deconstruction of the African Union’s (AU) current opposition to the increasing expansion in universal jurisdiction’s scope and attempts by some Western states to prosecute some government officials of AU member states in exercise of this principle. In seeking to understand the AU’s opposition, the dissertation examines both the doctrinal basis for this “new” universal jurisdiction claim, as well as the politics and the political implications of this development, particularly on conflicts resolution in Africa. On the first question, it finds that the legal basis for the doctrine’s expansion is, at best, indeterminate and, at worst, nonexistence.On the second, it contends that: (1) the current AU’s opposition is a reflection of the broader climate of suspicion that has often clouded the relationship between the African region and the West, on one hand, and between the African region and international law, on the other hand – suspicion created by colonialism and exacerbate by the complicity of international law in the colonial project; (2) a critical examination of the praxis of universal jurisdiction reveals both the politics of exclusion of Third World states and a striking similarity between the principle and the doctrinal technologies employed by the positivist international law in the nineteenth and part of the twentieth centuries to legitimize colonialism; and (3) the inability of states exercising universal jurisdiction to consider the political consequences of their actions could undermine such indigenous approaches that can successfully facilitate conflicts resolution in Africa, such as peace deals and post-conflict truth commissions. In conclusion, therefore, the dissertation argues that one of the lessons to be learnt from this confrontation is that for any international human rights enforcement approach or mechanism to be effective, it must be accepted by states, particularly those who are most likely to be directly impacted by it – in this case the Third World. For this reason, the AU’s apprehension concerning the ongoing expansion of universal jurisdiction must not be dismissed. This, it is hoped, would ensure the stability of the international system and reduce the current North/South divide on the important issue of criminal enforcement. 

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Recent Tri-Agency Grants

The following is a selection of grants for which the faculty member was principal investigator or co-investigator. Currently, the list only covers Canadian Tri-Agency grants from years 2013/14-2016/17 and excludes grants from any other agencies.

  • Finding a place for rights: an independent evaluation of the impact of the beyond the border initiative on human rights at the Canada-US border - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Insight Grants (2015/2016)
 

Membership Status

Member of G+PS

Program Affiliations

Law
 

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