With a new Foreword by David Ormerod of the Law Commission. Within the criminal justice system of England and Wales, the Crown Court is the arena in which serious criminal offences are prosecuted and sentenced. On the basis of up-to-date ethnographic research, this timely book provides a vivid description of what it is like to attend court as a victim, a witness or a defendant; the interplay between the different players in the courtroom; and the extent to which the court process is viewed as legitimate by those involved in it. This valuable addition to the field brings to life the range of issues involved and is aimed at students and scholars of criminal justice, policy-makers and practitioners, and interested members of the general public.
Jessica Jacobson is Co-Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), Birkbeck, University of London, where Gillian Hunter is a Senior Research Fellow and Amy Kirby is a Research Fellow.
Foreword: David Ormerod, Law Commission; Introduction;
The system: what is the Crown Court and what are its functions?;
Court process and performance: constructing versions of ‘the truth’;
Them and us: the divide between court users and professionals;
Structured mayhem: the organised yet chaotic nature of court proceedings;
Reluctant conformity: court users’ compliance with the court process;
Legitimacy: court users’ perceived obligation to obey, and what this is based on;
"A marvellous insight for those who are willing to face up to what others think of them. The blunt and genuine views of bruised witnesses and less-than-engaged defendants can make for difficult reading." Counsel Magazine
“This carefully constructed research study opens the doors of the Crown Court in a unique and engaging way revealing the formalities, misunderstandings, tension and sometimes tedium, considered judgements and the adversarial nature of British justice.” Juliet Lyon CBE, Director, Prison Reform Trust
"A fascinating account, and one which rings very true." Criminal Law Review
“An insightful and timely account of justice as experienced by victims, witnesses and defendants at the Crown Court.” Professor Julian Roberts, University of Oxford
"I commend this book to students, lawyers and policy-makers. It provides a unique window on what is really going on, dispels myths, chronicles what is changing and shows what still needs to change." Penny Cooper, Professor of Law, co-founder and Chair of The Advocate's Gateway
“Exploring the ‘structured mayhem’ of court proceedings and the reluctant conformity marking court users’ participation and sense of legitimacy, the book offers a compelling glimpse of the realities of the courtroom entangled with routine case processing and moments of personal drama.” Professor Nigel Fielding, University of Surrey