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Chapter

Cover Criminal Justice

5. Courts and the trial process  

Steven Cammiss

This chapter first considers the functions of the courts and questions whether there are other, more symbolic functions at play than finding the truth. It then outlines the court system, looking to both magistrates' courts and the Crown Court, and explores the composition of both courts, the types of cases that they deal with, and their role. To examine a particular decision made within the criminal courts, the chapter looks at the mode of trial decision. It concludes by asking whether the reality of the courts lives up to the rhetoric of trial by jury as the pinnacle of due process protections.

Book

Cover Criminal Justice

Edited by Anthea Hucklesby and Azrini Wahidin

Criminal Justice provides a thought-provoking and critical introduction to the challenges faced by the UK's criminal justice system, including policing, sentencing, and punishment at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Expert contributors, including criminologists and lawyers, provide students with a critical introduction to issues, institutions, and agencies that shape the operation of the criminal justice system. The book provides students from a range of disciplines including criminology, law, sociology, psychology, and social policy with knowledge and understanding of the key areas of the subject and an appreciation of contemporary debates, policies, and perspectives. Each chapter features questions, summaries, tables, diagrams, annotated further reading, and weblinks to ensure the book is as accessible and engaging as possible, and provides clear guidance on further study. An illuminating glossary of key terms is also included. In this second edition: all chapters have been completely revised and updated; a new chapter has been included on the policy landscape of criminal justice; additional material has been incorporated into two chapters on the police and policing; and a new chapter on the criminal courts has been included, as have additional chapters on innovative aspects of criminal justice, and science and psychology in criminal justice. This title is accompanied by an Online Resource Centre containing an online version of the glossary of key terms and annotated web links.

Chapter

Cover Criminology Skills

5. Criminal law  

This chapter explains the two main sources of criminal law in the UK: legislation, that is, Acts of Parliament (or statutes), and case law. It discusses the process by which Acts of Parliament come into existence; European Union legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights; criminal courts in which cases are heard and the systems of law reporting; how to find legislation and case law using various online resources; and how to find the criminal law of overseas jurisdictions.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

24. Criminal justice institutions  

This chapter explores the criminal justice institutions. In practice, the criminal justice system contains five distinct institutions that are responsible for delivering justice: the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (known as the CPS), the courts, probation providers, and prisons. Although they are all part of one overall system, each has different aims, roles, and challenges. Theoretically, the fact that these bodies are all accountable to the separation of powers concept should bring some unity in that it gives Parliament, the independent judiciary, and central government opportunities to shape the system to align with their version of justice. The government can exert considerable influence through the work of the Ministry of Justice or MoJ. The MoJ is currently the most important governmental agency in the criminal justice system, but the larger and more powerful Home Office is also involved to an extent, mainly with the police.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

12. Concluding remarks  

This chapter focuses on positive and negative developments in recent years. It welcomes the decline in the prison population and the increased focus on disproportionality. It also discusses those developments which can be viewed as negatives ones, particularly the continuing high imprisonment rate and the continued use of methods of restraining children and young people in custody. It focusses on the impact of Covid-19 on the courts, the prison population and the use of FPNs before discussing the arguments for abolition of the use of imprisonment or its reform. We then refer to the discourse of human rights—both its importance and the attacks on it, before referring to the re-emergence of problem-solving courts. Lastly the authors’ concerns as to ‘what needs to be done’ are considered.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

31. Understanding penal decision-making: Courts, sentencing, and parole  

Nicola Padfield and Cyrus Tata

This chapter expounds on the understanding of penal decision-making under the critical perspective that understands the interplay between courts, sentencing, and parole. It examines key issues in the daily realities of the work of sentencing and parole and their implications for research and policy. Conventional wisdom and popular assumptions about criminal justice have been led by a preoccupation with the most serious, glamorous cases. The chapter highlights the significance of the presumption of innocence, citing that cases are judged as unique and criminal justice agencies work autonomously in penal decision-making. It considers several strategies to reduce the use of imprisonment by promoting community alternatives

Chapter

Cover Criminology

20. The criminal justice system  

Steve Uglow

This chapter, which examines the role of the criminal justice system in England and Wales, begins with a short overview of the system as a whole, followed by individual sections on its main components. These include the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the courts, the sentencing and the correctional system, the youth justice system, and the right of appeal.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

5. Questioning  

This chapter examines the questioning stage of the criminal process, looking at the role and powers of the police. It covers the context of questioning and interviewing of suspects, interviewing victims, and confessions in court. It argues that confessions remain a suspect type of evidence despite the fact that the police questioning process is well regulated. Police detention will always be stressful, and innocent suspects will always have some incentives for confessing. This is why there is a case to be made for the corroboration of confessions. It is also crucial that the gains made since the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) are not undermined by government initiatives to cut costs by reducing the amount and quality of legal advice available to suspects.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

11. The trial  

This chapter focuses on the criminal trial itself which is the focal point of criminal procedure. The rules governing trials therefore shape the decisions made by the police and prosecutors. The trial remains important because defendants’ decisions on whether or not to plead guilty are often informed by what they believe to be the probability of conviction. The chapter considers the courtroom processes and raises questions about the roles of judge and jury. The chapter also discusses the modes of trial; the Crown Court trial; and confrontation and the protection of witnesses all of which are closely connected to issues of procedural fairness.

Chapter

Cover Sentencing and Punishment

11. Court orders for young offenders  

This chapter focuses on the ways and the extent to which the courts deal differently with children and young people under 18 who commit criminal offences or behave antisocially. It therefore covers the new criminal behaviour orders and injunctions as well as parenting orders. It then reviews the sentencing options available to the Youth and Crown Courts in dealing with young offenders, and examines the current practices and policy trends in relation to both community and custodial penalties for young offenders. In particular, the chapter covers the YRO (Youth Rehabilitation Order) and the Detention and Training order. It highlights the continuing deficiencies in the care of young people detained in young offender institutions and secure training centres, especially in regard to methods of restraint, and examines the advantages and limitations of using children’s rights and human rights to ensure more appropriate treatment of children and young people who commit offences.