The public interest in the administration of justice requires access to justice for all. But access to justice must be “meaningful” access. Meaningful access requires procedures, processes, and institutional structures that facilitate communication among participants and decision-makers and ensure that judges and other decision-makers have the resources they need to render fully informed and sound decisions. Working from that premise, which is based on a reconceptualization of the objectives and methods of the justice process, the author proposes numerous specific (...) changes in decision-making processes and practices. These changes are required to achieve a standard of decision-making that is consistent with the public interest in the administration of justice within a constitutional framework under the social and political conditions of the early 21st century. The essay illustrates the application of the principles and methods of legitecture to analysis of problems of institutional design in law. (shrink)
Law as one sign system can be recorded and interpreted by another sign system—media. If each transaction in court is taken as a sign, it can be interpreted or transferred by different signs of media for the same purpose, though with different effects. This study focuses on the transformative effects of the semiotic revolution in media on law. The present research revealed that the evolution of media has driven the administration of justice to pay more attention to the process (...) of court proceedings. This research also discusses the semiotic conflict and compatibility between the sign subsystems within media upon interpreting the administration of justice. In addition, disequilibrium between different sign systems highlights the consequent need for intersemiotic translation, consciousness and evaluation as part of decision making on court domains. (shrink)
This new text will encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and the current workings of the criminal justice system. Part One offers a clear, accessible and comprehensive review of the major philosophical aims and sociological theories of punishment, the history of justice and punishment, and the developing perspective of victimology. In Part Two, the focus is on the main areas of the contemporary criminal justice system including the police, the courts and judiciary, prisons, and (...) community penalties. The active engagement of students with the material covered distinguishes this text from others in the area and makes it a real teaching resource and invaluable text. (shrink)
In this essay, I address one methodological aspect of Victor Tadros's The Ends of Harm--namely, the moral character of the theory of criminal punishment it defends. First, I offer a brief reconstruction of this dimension of the argument, highlighting some of its distinctive strengths while drawing attention to particular inconsistencies. I then argue that Tadros ought to refrain from developing this approach in terms of an overly narrow understanding of the morality of harming as fully unified and reconciled under (...) the lone heading of justice. In a final and most critical section, I offer arguments for why this reconciliatory commitment, further constrained by a misplaced emphasis on corrective justice, generates major problems for his general deterrence account of the core justification of criminal punishment. (shrink)
In recent years, political philosophers have hotly debated whether ordinary citizens have a general pro tanto moral obligation to follow the law. Contemporary philosophers have had less to say about the same question when applied to public officials. In this paper, I consider the latter question in the morally complex context of criminal justice. I argue that criminal justice officials have no general pro tanto moral obligation to adhere to the legal dictates and lawful rules of their offices. (...) My claim diverges not only from the commonsense view about such officials, but also from the positions standardly taken in legal theory and political science debates, which presume there is some general obligation that must arise from legal norms and be reconciled with political realities. I defend my claim by highlighting the conceptual gap between the rigid, generalised, codified rules that define a criminal justice office and the special moral responsibilities of the various moral roles that may underpin that office (such as guard, guardian, healer, educator, mediator, counsellor, advocate, and carer). After addressing four objections to my view, I consider specific contexts in which criminal justice officials are obligated not to adhere to the demands of their offices. Amongst other things, the arguments advanced in this paper raise questions about both the distribution of formal discretion in the criminal justice system and the normative validity of some of the offices that presently exist in criminal justice systems. (shrink)
This book addresses the retributive and "orthodox subjectivist" theories that dominate criminal justice theory alongside recent "revisionist" and "postmodern" approaches. Norrie argues that all these approaches, together with their faults and contradictions, stem from their orientation to themes in Kantian moral philosophy. He explores an alternative relational or dialectical approach; examines the work of Ashworth, Duff, Fletcher, Moore, Smith, and Williams; and considers key doctrinal issues.
Transitionaljustice mechanisms and the International Criminal Tribunal for the FormerYugoslavia (ICTY) have had only a limited success in overcoming ethnic divisionsin Bosnia-Herzegovina. Rather than elaborating upon the role of local politicalelites in perpetuating ethnic divisions, we examine ordinary peoples’ popularperceptions of war and its aftermath. In our view, the idea that elites havecomplete control over the broader narratives about the past is misplaced. Weargue that transitional justice and peace mechanisms supported by externalactors are always interpreted on the ground in (...) context-specific ways, creatingdifferent citizens’ experiences, “memories” of the war, and their respectivehopes and disappointments in regards to the relationship between peace andjustice in Bosnia. We suggest that analyses of the post-conflict developments inBosnia-Herzegovina must take into account what gives the narratives ofexclusion their power, and what are the objective political, social andeconomic constraints that continue to provide a fertile ground for theirwidespread support. (shrink)
Alcohol use and abuse play a major role in both crime and negative health outcomes in Scotland. This paper provides a description and ethical and legal analysis of a novel remote alcohol monitoring scheme for offenders which seeks to reduce alcohol-related harm to both the criminal and the public. It emerges that the prospective benefits of this scheme to health and public order vastly outweigh any potential harms.
The presumption of innocence is not a presumption but an assumption or legal fiction. It requires agents of the state to treat a suspect or defendant in the criminal process as if he were in fact innocent. The presumption of innocence has a limited field of application. It applies only to agents of the state, and only during the criminal process. The presumption of innocence as such does not determine the amount of evidence necessary to find a defendant (...) guilty. In spite of these limits, the presumption of innocence protects suspects and defendants from specific dangers inherent in the criminal process. German procedure law is used to show these areas. (shrink)
This article starts from the observation that in classical Athens the discovery of democracy as a normative model of politics has been from the beginning not only a political and a legal but at the same time a philosophical enterprise. Reflections on the concept of criminal law and on the meaning of punishment can greatly benefit from reflections on Athenian democracy as a germ for our contemporary debate on criminal justice in a democracy. Three main characteristics of the (...) Athenian model will be analysed: the self-instituting capacity of a democracy based on participatory and reflective citizenship, political power as the capacity of citizens for co-operating and co-acting with others, and the crime of hubris as one of the key issues in Athenian criminal law. These analyses will lead to the conclusion that one of the key issues of a democratic legal order lies in its capacity of recognizing the fragility of the human condition and of developing workable and effective standards of justice in that context. A relational conception of criminal law and punishment, based on proportionality, reflexivity, mutual respect and responsibility fits best with a democracy under the rule of law. (shrink)
The article deals with the entrenchment of the institute of criminal liability of a legal person in the Lithuanian criminal law. Upon approval of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter also referred to as the CC) on 26 September 2000, the criminal liability of a legal person was provided almost in every fifth (at present—in every second) article of the Special Part of the CC. Although criminal liability has been increasingly applied to (...) legal persons (e.g., in 2011, if compared to 2005, almost three times as much punishments were imposed), however, almost 90 percent of the articles of the CC providing also for criminal liability of a legal person are “dead”. One doubt arises with regard to social legitimacy of such lawmaking and the quality thereof in the sense of juridical technique. (shrink)
We argued [Since this argument appeared in other journals, I am reprising it here, almost verbatim.] (Fulda in J Law Info Sci 2:230–232, 1991/AI & Soc 8(4):357–359, 1994) that the paradox of the preface suggests a reason why machines cannot, will not, and should not be allowed to judge criminal cases. The argument merely shows that they cannot now and will not soon or easily be so allowed. The author, in fact, now believes that when—and only when—they are ready (...) they actually should be so allowed, in the interests of justice. Both the original argument applied and this detailed reconsideration applies exclusively to trial courts, and both specifically exclude(d) sentencing. The argument highlights some key relevant differences between minds and machines and attempts, also, to explain why automation is of far greater import for the first-level justice system (trial courts) than for higher courts. A final section discusses why sentencing was, is, and should be excluded. (shrink)
This article takes up Smart’s suggestion to examine the way the law works in practice. It explores the context of current criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences in Queensland, Australia. This article argues that legal method is applied outside the higher courts or “judge-oriented” practice and that the obstacles inherent to legal method can be identified in the practices of police, lower court staff, magistrates and lawyers. This article suggests that it may be difficult to deconstruct legal method, even (...) by focussing on law in practice, and as a result it may be difficult to successfully challenge law’s truth claims in this way. The analysis of criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences reported here supports Smart’s earlier findings that women and children who seek redress through the criminal justice process find the process at best ambivalent and at worst, destructive. However, the article also shows how, in the Queensland context, women sometimes find their way to feminism and personal empowerment by going to law. (shrink)
In 2001, three non-Aboriginal men in their twenties were charged with the sexual assault of a twelve year old Aboriginal girl in rural Saskatchewan. Legal proceedings lasted almost seven years and included two preliminary hearings, two jury trials, two retrials with juries, and appeals to the provincial appeal court and the Supreme Court of Canada. One accused was convicted. The case raises questions about the administration of justice in sexual assault cases in Saskatchewan. Based on observation and analysis of (...) the record, this paper: (1) examines relationships between legal errors dealing with availability of the defence of “belief in consent” and interpretation of the “all reasonable steps” provision, the need for retrials, and apprehended race-gender-age bias and discrimination; and 2) proposes incremental and systemic remedies to address the weaknesses in police, prosecutorial and judicial policy and practice highlighted by this case. (shrink)
This paper examines some of the background social and institutional practices involved in the production of official statistics about crime and criminal justice. It documents how a host of micropolitical considerations impinge on what studies are conducted, which agencies control official data, and how measures are standardized. The communication of statistical facts is also shown to be influenced by a concern to prospectively manage the political symbolism of popular accounts about crime and criminal justice statistics.
Law has been a close partner to sociology from its very beginning, and the partnership often has proven to be extremely prolific for sociology. Grand theories as well as vital conceptual tools can be counted among its offspring. Both disciplines share the common ground of socio-legal studies, which has developed into a nearly independent interdisciplinary enterprise where legal scholars and sociologists happily meander between the normative and the analytical. From the vast array of topics in the field of socio-legal studies (...) I select the sociology of criminal justice and punishment in order to demonstrate the characteristics of this relationship. The partnership between sociology and law emerged as part of the modernization project in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the sociology of punishment was part of this endeavour. Rooted in a strong tradition of old (Durkheim) and new (Elias, Foucault) classics, recent developments in this field are leaving the idea of an `unproblematically modern punishment' (Whitman, 2005a) behind, and new fields of inquiry for comparative lawyers and sociologists are opening up. (shrink)
This article takes a Deleuzian view toward diversity, law and justice. It makes use of the insights developed in his two books on cinema comparing an “organic regime” to a “crystalline regime.” The former will be seen as the image of thought and regime of signs of traditional criminal justice practices (due process model, crime control model, family model, actuarial justice, restorative justice); the latter, the basis of a transformative justice (social justice) and the regime of signs that are (...) its constitutive elements. Deleuze’s views on semiotics can be fruitfully contrasted with Lacan’s. I want to indicate how Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic semiotics, on the descriptive level, quite accurately describes the connection of desire based on lack with capital logic, whereas, Deleuze provides an alternative ontology (desire based on production) and develops suggestions for privileging a becoming rather than a being. His is a call for ongoing transformations. I want to indicate how diversity, transformation and tolerance can have better developments in a Deleuzian model of the crystalline regime. This entails alternative discursive subject positions and regimes of signs within which constructions of reality by diverse peoples find wider expression. Accordingly, this is about better approximations to social justice. (shrink)
We argue in this essay that any society that organizes itself to punish criminals should in justice consider itself strictly liable to punish only those who are guilty in fact of the crimes for which they are punished. We argue that justice, not utility, is the basis of the obligation society has not to punish the innocent and that any society that is just would bind itself by statute to compensate the innocents it punishes by mistake. We hope to have (...) made it evident that when the justice of criminal punishment is the issue justice and strict liability are not incompatible; rather, we hope to have shown that one does not understand the nature of justice unless one recognizes that society is strictly liable and therefore owes compensation when, through no fault of its own, it punishes the innocent. (shrink)
This paper propounds the following theses: 1). that the traditional focus on the Blackstone ratio of errors as a device for setting the criminal standard of proof is ill-conceived, 2). that the preoccupation with the rate of false convictions in criminal trials is myopic, and 3). that the key ratio of interest, in judging the political morality of a system of criminal justice, involves the relation between the risk that an innocent person runs of being falsely convicted (...) of a serious crime and the risk of being criminally victimized by someone who was falsely acquitted. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction and overview; 2. The nature of forgiveness and resentment; 3. The moral analysis of the attitudes of forgiveness and resentment defined; 4. The moral analysis of the attitudes of self-forgiveness and self-condemnation; 5. Philosophical underpinnings of the basic attitudes: forgiveness, resentment, and the nature of persons; 6. Moral theory: justice and desert; 7. The public response to wrongdoing; 8. Restorative justice: the public response to wrongdoing and the process of addressing the wrong.
In Regina v. Murray, (2000, Ont S.Ct.J.) the learned trial judge, Justice Gravely, errs in his interpretation and application of the law of mens rea in the offense of willfully attempting to obstruct justice under section 139(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. In view of his findings of fact and law, including the determination that the accused knowingly and intentionally committed the actus reus of the offense and the absence of any suggestion that he lacked awareness of any (...) relevant facts, there is no question in law but that Kenneth Murray was liable to be, and actually should have been, convicted. Nonetheless, the trial judge concluded that Murray’s alleged belief, that his actions were required by his duty to his client, raised a reasonable doubt about his intention to obstruct justice and entitled him to be acquitted. -/- In his reasons for judgment, the trial judge analyzes mens rea as if there is a “color of right” defense to the offense of obstruction of justice. In law, however, no such defense exists to this offense. Consequently, even if Mr. Murray did “honestly believe” that he had a duty to his client not to disclose the existence of the video tapes, that belief could not provide him with an exculpatory defence. In Canada, pursuant to common law and section 19 of the Criminal Code, mistakes of law do not excuse accused persons from responsibility for criminal conduct in the absence of a statutory exception. No exception exists for the offense of obstruction of justice. Yet the Crown did not choose to appeal and thereby signaled its acceptance of the legal analysis adopted by the trial judge. By contrast, if the analysis proposed in this piece had been adopted, the Crown should have prevailed at trial and, if unsuccessful at trial, would have had a right of appeal on a question of law. -/- At least two tendencies converge as significant influences shaping the outcome in the Murray case. The central tendency, discussed in Part I of this article, is the trial judge’s treatment of the accused’s alleged mistake about his legal duty as if it were a mistake about a question of fact which therefore could give rise to a reasonable doubt about intention or culpable awareness. This approach to mistaken beliefs ignores the distinction between mistakes of law and mistakes of fact, and then characterizes all mistakes as mistakes of fact. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in the case law. In recent years however, as explained below, the judiciary has rejected that approach in a number of leading cases and ruled that mistakes which are actually mistakes about the meaning, scope, or application of the law are subject to the general rule and do not provide an accused with an exculpatory defense. The relationship between mistake of law and mens rea in Canadian criminal law has also been the subject of critical scholarly comment in Canada in recent years. The Murray decision provides evidence that, despite clarification by the Supreme Court, in some lower courts the unrefined approach to mistaken belief continues to shape the legal analysis of criminal culpability, even when the mistaken belief is overtly a belief about the law. This will not change until the proper characterization of mistaken beliefs as legal or factual becomes a deliberate and common-place aspect of case analysis at the trial court level. -/- The other tendency, discussed in Part III of this article, is one that often appears as a companion to the first - the judicial tendency to perceive and invoke analytical legal ambiguity in favour of accuseds more readily in cases in which the impugned conduct involves the discretionary exercise of authority which, when used appropriately, is fully legitimate and essential to the normal functioning of the existing socio-legal order. Of course, courts are strongly influenced by the arguments put to them by counsel. And counsel, acting on behalf of client groups with particular group interests may, consciously or unconsciously, favour the development of those lines of analysis which are protective of that interest or associated institutional interests. One of the reasons for scrutinizing the Murray case is that it provides a concrete context for discussion of those issues in relation to an actual decision made by Crown prosecutors. The case provides an occasion to examine a specific example of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, its implications for the administration of criminal justice, and its broader potential impact on the public interest. [See also errata in UNBLJ 2002 volume 52 at pp 309-310.]. (shrink)
In recent decades a number of criminal convictions have been reversed on appeal, partially on the basis of problems associated with the use of scientific evidence adduced by the prosecution during the trial. These miscarriage of justice cases have received considerable attention from news media, legal commentators, criminologists and in formal public inquiries. Most responses to these cases have been critical of the scientific evidence originally relied upon at trial. Few commentators have been critical of, or even reflective about, (...) the scientific evidence used to acquit. Generally, their analyses have utilized idealized images of science and scientists. In contrast, by importing the concept of methodological symmetry from science studies, this paper aims to identify and explore the conceptual disparity (or asymmetry) between the assessment of scientific evidence used to convict and the scientific evidence used to acquit. In order to illustrate some of the limits to conventional approaches to miscarriages of justice as well as examine the judicial use of scientific evidence this will be undertaken in relation to the successful appeal of the Birmingham Six. (shrink)
The character of contemporary criminal law is changing. This article examines one aspect of that change: a type of criminal offence which, it is argued, effectively ousts the criminal courts. These ‘ouster offences’ are first distinguished from more conventional offences by virtue of their distinctive structure. The article then argues that to create an ouster offence is to oust the criminal courts by depriving them of the ability to adjudicate on whatever wrongdoing the offence-creator takes to (...) justify prosecuting potential defendants. The article further argues that creating such an ouster is objectionable on a number of grounds. It deprives the courts of the ability to adjudicate independently, and undermines their ability to deliver procedural justice in both pure and imperfect form. While the ouster in question is by no means express, the article argues that it is nonetheless of the first importance. (shrink)
David Lyons is one of the preeminent philosophers of law active in the United States. This volume comprises essays written over a period of twenty years in which Professor Lyons outlines his fundamental views about the nature of law and its relation to morality and justice. The underlying theme of the book is that a system of law has only a tenuous connection with morality and justice. Contrary to those legal theorists who maintain that no matter how bad the law (...) of a community might be, strict conformity to existing law automatically dispenses "formal" justice, Professor Lyons contends that the law must earn the respect that it demands. Moreover, we cannot, as some would suggest, interpret law in a value-neutral manner. Rather courts should interpret statutes, judicial precedents, and constitutional provisions in terms of values that would justify those laws. In this way officials can promote the justifiability of what they do to people in the name of law, and can help the law live up to its moral pretensions. (shrink)
According to the main argument in favour of the practice of racial profiling as a low enforcement tactic, the use of race as a targeting factor helps the police to apprehend more criminals. In the following, this argument is challenged. It is argued that, given the assumption that criminals are currently being punished too severely in Western countries, the apprehension of more criminals may not constitute a reason in favour of racial profiling at all.
This book looks at the civil justice system - the courts and what they do; legal aid and other methods of providing access to justice; lawyers and their conduct; and the role of legal procedure. It also looks at the impact the civil justice system has on wider society, and its relationship with economics and commercial development. The book is largely focussed on Britain, but includes material from the USA, the Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, and Aboriginal society in Australia.
psychological terms, the [Japanese] system relies on positive rather than negative reinforcement, emphasizing loving acceptance in exchange for genuine repentance. An analogue of what the Japanese policeman wants the offender to feel is the tearful relief of a child when confession of wrongdoing to his parents results in a gentle laugh and a warm hug. In relation to American policemen, Japanese officers want to be known for the warmth of their care rather than the strictness of their enforcement.1 Much of (...) the most disturbing police behaviour stems from two connected facts: the system's overwhelming dependence on admissions of guilt, and the absence of checks on police power in the interrogation room. In Japan, the conditions of interrogation?the duration and intensity of questioning, the duty to endure questioning even after the right to silence has been invoked, and the unavailability of defence lawyers?means that an ?overborne will? is more than merely an occasional problem.2. (shrink)
Alcohol use and abuse play a major role in both crime and negative health outcomes in Scotland. This paper provides a description and ethical and legal analyses of a novel remote alcohol monitoring scheme for offenders which seeks to reduce alcohol-related harm to both the criminal and the public. It emerges that the prospective benefits of this scheme to health and public order vastly outweigh any potential harms.
This paper considers the interpretive significance of the intersecting relationships between different conceptions of responsibility as they shift over space and time. The paper falls into two main sections. The first gives an account of several conceptions of responsibility: two conceptions founded in ideas of capacity; two founded in ideas of character, and one founded in the relationship between an agent and the outcome which she causes. The second main section uses this differentiated conceptual account to analyse and interpret certain (...) aspects of the contemporary criminal law of England and Wales. In conclusion, the paper considers a number of hypotheses about what the evidence of certain shifts in the relationship between the three families of responsibility-conception can tell us about the current state and significance of criminal law among other systems of social governance. (shrink)