Regulating negligence in French and Italian criminal law
Lecturer Cristinel GHIGHECI1
The modified version of art. 121-3 of the French Criminal Code introduces a
hierarchy of the nonintentional forms of guilt a ccording to seriousness. From the
perspective of the French legislator, this hierarchy would be the following: deliberate
negligence (art. 121-3 para. 2), simple negligence – carelessness, imprudence – (art. 121-3
para. 3) and breaking a duty of ca re or protection (art. 121-3 para. 4). In the Italian
Criminal Code only the conscious negligence is defined, whereas the simple negligence is
not defined, but merely exemplified. Thus, article 43 para. 1 states that “The re is an offence
committed with negligence whenever the result, even though foreseen, is not desired by the
agent and occurs because of carelessness, imprudence, lack of skill, or failure to observe
laws, regulations, orders or instructions”.
Keywords: criminal negligence, indirect intention, French legal system, Italian
JEL Classification: K14
In comparative law, there are many legal solutions regarding the ways of
regulating the forms of mens rea (guilt). The new Romanian Criminal Code, like
the previous Criminal Code, adopted in 1968, chose to expressly regulate the forms
of guilt, by defining them under art. 16.
Most of legal systems do not contain a legal definition of the forms of
guilt, relying instead on the case law and the doctrine to provide the elements
necessary to define them. Some of such legal systems include mere enumerations
of the forms of guilt that an offender might have when committing an offence
without including a legal definition of such forms of guilt, while others do not even
expressly refer to such forms of guilt in their legislation.
We previously addressed the issue of regulating negligence in German and
Spanish criminal law2, and we hereby complete our approach by the way in which
negligence is approached under French and Italian criminal legal systems.
1 Cristinel Ghigheci - Transilvania University of Brașov, Judge of the Brasov Court of Appeal,
2 Cristinel Ghigheci, Regulating negligence in German and in Spanish criminal law, Juridical
Tribune, Volume 8, Special Issue, October 2018, p. 39-48.