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The principle of proportionality is one of the fundamental legal principles defining the limits of state authority. The principle of proportionality, among other things, is the basis of legal responsibility and ensures the justice of the punishment being imposed. The roots of the requirement of proportionali-ty of punishment to the committed offense goes to the early history of mankind, the first institutions for responding to crimes - blood feud and talion - were based on the idea of proportionality. The univer-sality of these institutions in the history of mankind also attests to the universality of the principle of proportionality. Gradually, in the process of developing social relations, a transition was made from di-rect physical punishment, which was supposed to be blood vengeance and talion, to material compensa-tion for damage. At the same time, modern approaches to determining the proportionality of punishment for an offense arose. Today, the principle of proportionality underlies the legislative regulation and practical imple-mentation of legal responsibility in all democratic countries. It is actively applied in the practice of na-tional and international courts for the protection of human rights. The principle of proportionality re-quires that a balance of competing interests be found when establishing the sanction, and not only how the sanctioning measures will help protect public and private interests, but also what impact they will have on the person who violated the law. The principle of proportionality presupposes the duty of the legislator to provide in the normative legal acts such sanctions that ensure the proportionality of the act and punishment, and the duty of the courts to exercise their proper application. The analysis of the leg-islation and jurisprudence of Russia, the United States, Canada and Germany makes it possible to iden-tify some of the generally accepted methods of legislative regulation of sanctions (qualified offenses, differentiated sanctions, the possibility of imposing punishment below the lowest limit), ensuring the implementation of the requirement of proportionality, as well as judicial verification of proportionality of legislative sanctions and enforcement decisions (proportionality test).

About the authors

Alexander A Bazhanov

RUDN University

6, Miklukho-Maklaya st., Moscow, Russia, 117198 Alexander А. Bazhanov, Postgraduate Student, Theory of Law and State Department, Law Institute, RUDN University.


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