The Place of Committing an Abstract Endangerment Offence and the Territorial Scope of Polish Criminal Law

The paper discusses the possibility of prosecuting an act committed abroad, if it constitutes an abstract endangerment offence. Such offences, unlike offences of specific endangerment or violations, can be considered as committed only there, where the offender performed his act, regardless of where the results of his act ensued. Such an interpretation restricts the application of the territoriality principle in cases, in which the offender acts abroad but the legal good is endangered or even violated on Polish grounds and the legislator decided to protect this good even from abstract dangers. Such restriction does not seem to be justified considering the main functions of criminal law, such as protection of goods and compensation. Thus the expression “a result constituting a feature of a prohibited act” used in Art. 6 § 2 Polish Criminal Code, needs rethinking. It should be read in a new perspective, not just the perspective of unlawfulness, but one that acknowledges the role which “the place of committing an offence” plays in determining Polish jurisdiction and application of Polish law.

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