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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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.