Maintaining order: Criminal law provides predictability, letting people know what to expect from others. Without criminal law, there would be chaos and uncertainty.
Resolving disputes: The law makes it possible to resolve conflicts and disputes between quarrelling citizens. It provides a peaceful, orderly way to handle grievances.
Protecting individuals and property: Criminal law protects citizens from criminals who would inflict physical harm on others or take their possessions.
Providing for smooth functioning of society: Criminal law enables the government to collect taxes, control pollution, and accomplish other socially beneficial tasks.
Safeguarding civil liberties: Criminal law protects individual rights.
Most academics view the criminal law as having a political function: to maintain order.
However, Duff argues criminal law enables “perpetrators of public wrongs [to] be called to account” i.e. it allows criminals to be held responsible for their crimes.