Commission By Omission | Pages 347-353 | PDF

Cristina Nicorici, PhD, Assistant Professor
West University of Timisoara, Romania

Keywords: commission by omission, improper omission, individual liberty, duty to act

The concept of state penalising a person for his or her failure to act must be understood and analysed as transcending a criminal responsibility for something that a person has failed to do. The idea that, unless a person complies with the obligations imposed by the state and acts accordingly, he or she will receive a court sentence, is related to the principle of legality in criminal law, individual liberty to act, and the rule of law.

This article will underline the concept of improper omission, and how the criminal liability for improper omission is affecting individual liberty. Should there be a general responsibility to help other persons? Which are the obligations, whose neglect should result in criminal responsibility? Should there be situations, expressly regulated by the law, in which a person, although he or she has omitted to do something, should not be held criminally responsible? These are some of the questions I intend to answer in this article, offering a theoretical presentation of the main theories of responsibility for omissions.

In conclusion, a theoretical study about criminal responsibility for omissions is, in essence, a study about the rule of law and individual liberty.