Skip to main content
The Concept of Entrapment
Criminal Law and Philosophy (2018)
  • Attila Tanyi
  • Daniel Hill, University of Liverpool
  • Stephen McLeod, University of Liverpool
Our question is this: what makes an act one of entrapment? We make a standard distinction between legal entrapment, which is carried out by parties acting in their capacities as (or as deputies of) law- enforcement agents, and civil entrapment, which is not. We aim to provide a definition of entrapment that covers both and which, for reasons we explain, does not settle questions of permissibility and culpability. We explain, compare, and contrast two existing definitions of legal entrapment to commit a crime that possess this neutrality. We point out some problems with the extensional correctness of these definitions and propose a new definition that resolves these problems. We then extend our definition to provide a more general definition of entrapment, encompassing both civil and legal cases. Our definition is, we believe, closer to being extensionally correct and will, we hope, provide a clearer basis for future discussions about the ethics of entrapment than do the definitions upon which it improves.
  • civil entrapment,
  • crime,
  • entrapment,
  • intentions,
  • legal entrapment,
  • proactive law enforcement
Publication Date
Citation Information
Attila Tanyi, Daniel Hill and Stephen McLeod. "The Concept of Entrapment" Criminal Law and Philosophy Vol. 12 Iss. 4 (2018) p. 539 - 554
Available at: