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Criminal Judges
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Criminal Judges

Legitimacy, Courts and State-Induced Guilty Pleas in Britain

9781782548911 Edward Elgar Publishing
Mike McConville, Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Luke Marsh, Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Publication Date: 2014 ISBN: 978 1 78254 891 1 Extent: 320 pp
Against a backdrop of a dysfunctional criminal justice system, the authors bring an avalanche of legal and empirical material to question the legitimacy of the relationship between judges, lawyers, politicians and defendants in modern Britain. Examining existing legal structures and court practices through the lens of what used to be called ‘plea bargaining’ the authors provide a graphic picture of why case disposals through enforced guilty pleas promote injustice, feed discrimination and skew the judicial function. This is the most comprehensive examination to date of case disposition methods in England, Wales and Scotland., underpinned by a new socio-legal theory on the criminal process.

Criminal Judges is sure to provoke debate on the forces which drive the criminal justice process and will therefore be of great interest to all those concerned about the future of criminal justice policies and practices. It will appeal to academics, researchers, policy advisors and practitioners of criminal law.

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Critical Acclaim
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This provocative and powerful book provides a critical review of Britain’s criminal justice process through its practices, culture and traditions, revealing a landscape in ruins under the dominance of State-induced Guilty Pleas.

Against a backdrop of a dysfunctional criminal justice system, the authors bring an avalanche of legal and empirical material to question the legitimacy of the relationship between judges, lawyers, politicians and defendants in modern Britain. Examining existing legal structures and court practices through the lens of what used to be called ‘plea bargaining’ the authors provide a graphic picture of why case disposals through enforced guilty pleas promote injustice, feed discrimination and skew the judicial function. This is the most comprehensive examination to date of case disposition methods in England, Wales and Scotland., underpinned by a new socio-legal theory on the criminal process.

Criminal Judges is sure to provoke debate on the forces which drive the criminal justice process and will therefore be of great interest to all those concerned about the future of criminal justice policies and practices. It will appeal to academics, researchers, policy advisors and practitioners of criminal law.
Critical Acclaim
‘In this important book, two knowledgeable and perceptive observers offer a damning indictment of British criminal justice. McConville and Marsh repeatedly skewer the pious pronouncements of panglossian judges with down-to-earth views of the assembly line. They describe a world of state-induced guilty pleas in which defendants are subjected to extraordinary pressure to "freely" and "voluntarily" bring about their own convictions, and they explain how this world came into being. These authors tell it like it is.’
– Albert W. Alschuler,The University of Chicago, US

‘McConville and Marsh mount a powerful attack on the institutions of criminal justice: they examine a range of practices known as 'plea-bargaining' in the broader context of policing and the work of the CPS, defence solicitors and the Bar. Their detailed and historically-grounded study challenges the role of the courts in developing and refining the procedural framework for the guilty plea discount, and raises questions about the claim of the judiciary to be guardians of the right to a fair trial. A disturbing book for criminal justice.’
– Andrew Ashworth, University of Oxford, UK

‘This is no ordinary esoteric lawyers’ textbook. It is a hard hitting, trenchant analysis of a system that has been seriously eroded and undermined over the course of my 46 years of practice in the criminal justice arena. Basic principles and protections have been ditched or watered down to accommodate the exigencies of political and economic dogma.
Every citizen who stands by the need for due process, and the rule of law as mainstays of any democratic system, must read this carefully researched and well argued work.’
– Michael Mansfield QC

‘A timely and sobering account of the realities of criminal justice. McConville and Marsh provide an important and informed critique of the manner in which the 'adversary ideal' and the principles on which the fairness of the criminal justice system is traditionally understood to rest are routinely and systematically undermined in practice.’
– Sarah Summers, The University of Zurich, Switzerland

‘Edward Elgar’s Criminal Judges is a timely and carefully crafted publication, written by highly respected criminal law experts. . . Professor McConville and his colleague have produced an excellent and sensitive criminal law book, a joy to read.’
– Sally Ramage, Criminal Law Review

‘In their passionate, polemical but ultimately infonnative new text, Mike Mcconville and Luke Marsh explore the phenomenon of state-induced guilty pleas that increasingly dominate proceedings in the criminal courts of England and Wales.’
– Daniel Newman, Journal of Law and Society

Contents
Contents: 1. Criminal Justice: System, Process and Legitimacy 2. Helping the Police with their Inquiries 3. State-Induced Guilty Pleas and Legitimacy 4. Lowering the Bar 5. Institutional Distress: the State 6. Institutional Distress: the Defence 7. Scotland: Coercion and Discourse 8. Conclusion Bibliography Index

This title is available for institutional purchase via Elgaronline.

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eISBN: 978 1 78254 892 8
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