The relevance of harm as the criterion for the punishment of impossible attempts.
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There has been much debate about the relevance of punishment in cases of impossible attempts. This article sets out the current position in Anglo-American jurisdictions and considers the rationale behind punishment in hypothetical impossible attempt cases in order to draw out the key issues at the heart of responsibility. The cases of the inadequately prepared attempt and the attempt which is doomed to failure are compared to illustrate the relevance of the potential to cause harm in the justification for punishing such actors. The article concludes with the suggestion that the relevant criterion is the presence of the potential to cause imminent harm, as opposed to future, speculative harm.