Source: (1999) Social & Legal Studies. 8(4):583-591.

I very much appreciate Neil Hutton’s attention to my argument for ‘principled parsimony’ (Hudson, 1995). I have suggested that sentencing ought to be able to accommodate differences in economic situation of offenders, and argued further that such accommodation should be through the development and application of principled criteria for economic hardship, rather than being on the basis of individual representations for particularly sympathetic cases. In this article, I clarify and develop my position on the possibility of a hardship defence.1 I comment on three points of disagreement between Hutton’s article and my own position: two points concern what I think are misrepresentations of my position, and the third concerns an empirical disagreement about the role of the sentencer. The two points of misrepresentation or misunderstanding involve ideas of responsibility and of the social; the empirical point is the balance of formal and substantive justice concerns in sentencing. (excerpt)