Judge without Jury: Diplock Trials in the Adversary System

Judge without Jury: Diplock Trials in the Adversary System

Judge without Jury: Diplock Trials in the Adversary System

Judge without Jury: Diplock Trials in the Adversary System

Synopsis

What would become of the criminal trial if the jury was taken out of the picture? This is precisely what occurred in Northern Ireland in 1973, after a Commission (chaired by Lord Diplock) recommended that cases connected with the "troubles" be tried by a judge alone. The authors' study of both Diplock and jury trials in Northern Ireland yields broad lessons for all those interested in the administration of criminal justice.

Excerpt

At a time when the merits of jury trial are under discussion in many jurisdictions, this major comparative study of jury and non-jury trials is particularly welcome. Its empirical foundations lie in the system in Northern Ireland, where jury trials and judge-only trials have been conducted in different categories of criminal case for some years. Based on observation of trials and on interviews with key actors, including judges and counsel, the study also makes some comparisons with other jurisdictions in which judge-only trials take place. It advances the debate about trial by jury in criminal cases in several ways. Often that debate is conducted without any exploration of alternative modes of trial: this study delves deep into one such alternative. Often that debate involves assumptions about the effect of judge-only trials on the accusatorial or inquisitorial nature of proceedings: this study discusses what the main implications are, and argues that consideration of the procedural aspects should not be neglected when taking decisions on the nature of the tribunal. In this study the authors raise the debate about the criminal trial to a new level.

Andrew Ashworth
London
1995 . . .

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