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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world.  The Journal is committed to democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. Authors retain copyright and articles are licenced via Creative Commons to make published articles more readily available and useable. There are no APCs (Article Processing Charges). Authors can submit and publish at no cost.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 9 3

Rebuilding the Harm Principle: Using an Evolutionary Perspective to Provide a New Foundation for Justice


Following Mill’s (1859) definition, the ‘harm principle’ came to dominate legal debates about crime and the appropriate response of the justice system, effectively replacing official talk of morality in modern secular societies. However, the harm principle has collapsed without an accepted definition of harm or a method to adjudicate between competing claims. To address this, we propose a definition of ‘good’ derived from evolutionary perspectives. From this, a universal goal for society can be recognised, specific objectives to reach that goal can be listed, and a new definition for harm can be used to repair the harm principle and restore its ability to underpin criminal law and the principles of justice in society.

Pages:100 to 115
Section: Articles
0 citation(s) in Scopus
0 citation(s) in Web of Science


Total Abstract Views: 251  Total PDF Downloads: 150

Author Biographies

United Kingdom United Kingdom

Ed Gibney is a writer who publishes works of fiction and philosophy. He brings an evolutionary perspective to these pursuits, which can be found at 

Dr Tanya Wyatt is a professor at Northumbria University located in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom.. She is a green criminologist specialising in research on wildlife trafficking, non-human animal abuse, and the intersections to organised crime, corporate crime and corruption.​