The law on property offences is a complex and controversial area. In large part this is because the notion of property itself is complex and controversial. In political terms the ownership of property can represent power and hence the infamous claim that ‘property is theft’. Lawyers tend to work on the assumption that the role of the criminal law is to protect property interests. However, as we shall see, that is not uncontroversial. The goals of property law may not match those of the criminal law, it has been claimed. Further the law must deal with the extent to which an interference with property should be regarded as a matter for civil law or one for criminal law. The concept of dishonesty plays a crucial role here. It is used to distinguish those cases which are, for example, a straight-forward breach of contract; and those which are criminal offences. As we shall see, the notion of dishonesty is a notoriously difficult one to pin down.
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- Property Offences
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- CHAPTER 7