Criminal Justice as a science

Criminal Justice CollegeCriminal Justice represents a scientific discipline that with scientific methods studies the criminal law as a system of positive legislation, identifying its basic principles, concepts and institutions and linking them to the harmonized system (criminal – legal dogmatism).

Criminal justice as a science, studies the historical development of this branch of law, and also determines with critical analysis, if necessary with the comparative method of disadvantages of the positive criminal law and thus preparing the path of its development and perfecting. In accomplishing its task, it is a normative science, necessarily relies onto many other scientific disciplines, particularly those which have as their object studying of criminality. Here especially comes to consideration criminology, criminal policy and Penology.


Doctrine of criminal law began to be fully developed from the end of the 18th century.  When Montesquieu, Voltaire, and particularly Bekaria pointed out the deficiencies right then, that was characterized by brutality, arbitrariness, judicial and religious tyranny and motivation. As a reaction to such condition the French Revolution proclaimed the principle that there is no crime or punishment without the law. With that principle German lawyer Feuerbach gives the classical formula “nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege.”

Kant and Hegel give philosophical background for teaching criminal law, which from early 19 century began to develop strongly. Kant understands the sentence as postulate of absolute justice, and Hegel as negation of the crime. A. Feuerbach understands the meaning of the punishment as intimidation with psychological coercion (general prevention). Based on the philosophical and ethical teachings on freedom of the will was made so called classical school of criminal rights, which has developed criminal dogma and contributed in strengthening of the principles of legality. Its basic deficiency is considered to be abstract-logical treatment of crime and delinquent.

Under the influence of the development of the natural sciences during the 19 century was formed the Italian positive school of natural law. Its founder is Lombrozo, with the famous thesis of natural criminal, the atavistic nature of criminality. Legal development and certain correction of the thesis gave Feri and Garofalo. Feri next to individual causes of crime recognizes both physical and social, while Garofalo give a name to the new science of criminology, which then begins to be born. Positive school in its final elaboration rejects notions of moral responsibilities and punishments as righteous retribution proportional with the severity of the crime committed and replaces them with the idea of sanctions as social protection measures.

In Germany in the late 19 century emerges so called sociological school (Franz v. List), which places the emphasis on the social causes of the criminality, laying particular emphasis on economic causes. In the purpose of punishment this school puts emphasis on special prevention (intimidation, improving or neutralization of each delinquent) and pleading for greater individualizations of punishment, the introduction of suspended sentences and security measures. From the fighting of these opposite schools emerges neoclassical school on position of eclectic compromise on confronted positions. Retaining the terms of criminal liability and punishment as retribution, this school introduces the concepts of danger and security measures in criminal right. This duality of criminal sanctions is a basic feature of the neoclassical school whose influence are built many criminal codes in the 20 century. After the Second World War, there is a new direction called “Movement of social defence.” This movement focuses on the scientific (medical-psychological and social) examination of delinquent personality and his choice of socialization of the most suitable sanction, and with full respect of all guarantees for fundamental rights of citizens.