Criminalisation and its Limits: Revisiting Public Goods and Legal Interests in Domestic and Transnational Criminal Law

Date: 22 to 23-06-2023

Location: Leiden Law School

Languages: English

Organiser: Jannemieke Ouwerkerk (Leiden University), Jeroen ten Voorde (Leiden University), Konstantinos Zoumpoulakis (Leiden University), Jacob Öberg (University of Southern Denmark)


The aim of the conference is to clarify the meaning and definition of public goods and legal interests (Rechtsgüter) in criminal law, and explore the connections between these two concepts, and – among other issues – their relationship to the theory of harm (e.g. Mill, Feinberg). Although both concepts stem from the premise that society should consider protecting certain goods or interests by means of criminal law, they seem to differ in whether these goods should be of an individual or collective nature. Given their pivotal role in imposing specific normative perspectives on criminal law, it is necessary to improve our understanding of the contemporary meaning of public goods and legal interests, in order to critically analyze and circumscribe the proper scope of criminal law. The theme of the conference will be scrutinized from three angles – national criminal law, EU criminal law, and international criminal law – and it will be examined from a general perspective as well as in relation to specific areas of crime, and alternately in plenary sessions and in parallel discussion groups.