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22 Hastings L.J. 1155 (1970-1971)
The Territorial Principle in Criminal Law

handle is hein.journals/hastlj22 and id is 1175 raw text is: The Territorial Principle in Criminal Law*
By Rollin M. Perkins**
THRE are four' different theories of criminal jurisdiction, namely:
(1) territorial, (2) Roman, (3) injured forum, and (4) cosmopoli-
The territorial theory takes the position that criminal jurisdiction
depends upon the place of perpetration. That is, the nation on whose
territory the crime was committed has jurisdiction of the offense. It is
a logical outgrowth of the conception of law enforcement as a means
of keeping the peace. The perpetrator, rather than the place of per-
pretration, is the determinant under the Roman theory. A nation, in
this view, has jurisdiction over its national wherever he may be and
hence can hold him accountable for his criminal misdeed wherever
committed. It is a logical outgrowth of the conception of law enforce-
ment as a means of disciplining members of the tribe or clan. While
sometimes referred to as the personal theory, the traditional label is
Roman because this was the position of the Roman law which held
the Roman citizen accountable to it wherever he might be.
The injured forum theory places the emphasis upon the effect of the
crime. A nation may take jurisdiction of any crime which has the
effect of causing harm to it. Although the label was not used, this was
* This was prepared for the VIII Congress of the International Academy of
Comparative Law and appears on pages 657-670 of Legal Thought in the United States
of America Under Contemporary Pressures, published for the American Association for
the Comparative Study of Law, Inc., by Etablissements Emile Bruylant, Brussels,
Belgium, 1970. It is reproduced here by express permission.
** Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
1. Some courts have listed five, designated as territorial, nationality, pro-
tective, universality and passive personality. Rivard v. United States, 375 F.2d
882, 885 (5th Cir. 1967); Rocha v. United States, 288 F.2d 545 (9th Cir. 1961);
United States v. Rodriguez, 182 F. Supp. 479 (S.D. Cal. 1960). In each case the
classification was taken, directly or indirectly, from the Introductory Comment to a pro-
posed Codification of International Law. See American Society of International Law,
Jurisdiction With Respect to Crime (pt. 1), 29 AM. J. INT'L L., 443, 445 (Supp. 1935).
The so-called passive personality principle, based upon the nationality of the victim
of the crime, was not included as a separate category in the proposed Code itself. See
id. at 579. It is unnecessary, being clearly included within the injured forum cate-
gory, designated therein as protective.


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