Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy

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9781447317050: Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy
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Within the criminal justice systems of England and Wales, the Crown Court is the arena in which serious criminal offenses are prosecuted and sentenced. Based on up-to-date ethnographic research, including interviews and field observations, 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. While its research is focused on the Crown Court, the book’s findings are far from narrow. This valuable addition to the field brings to life the range of issues involved in jurisprudence and will be of great interest to students and scholars of criminal justice, policy makers and practitioners, and interested members of the general public the world over.

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About the Author:

Jessica Jacobson is codirector of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, University of London.

Review:

“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.” (Nigel Fielding, University of Surrey)

“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 judgments, and the adversarial nature of British justice.” (Juliet Lyon CBE, director, Prison Reform Trust)

“An insightful and timely account of justice as experienced by victims, witnesses, and defendants at the Crown Court.” (Julian Roberts, University of Oxford)

“I commend this book to students, lawyers, and policy makers. It provides a unique window onto what is really going on, dispels myths, chronicles what is changing, and shows what still needs to change.” (Penny Cooper, Kinston University, London, Law School co-founder and chair of The Advocate’s Gateway)

“A marvelous 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 (UK))

“A fascinating account, and one which rings very true.” (Criminal Law Review)


Inside Crown Court provides a comprehensive account of the experiences of victims, witnesses, and defendants who appear at the Crown Court in England and Wales. . . . This book offers a compelling and nuanced examination of a subject that is often unacknowledged or misunderstood by researchers and legal professionals alike. . . . [It is a] groundbreaking contribution to court research in England and Wales. . . . This work paves the way for additional research in a wider range of courts and suggests a closer examination of the experiences of different types of court users. This ambitious book will be of interest to researchers, legal practitioners, and policy makers who are interested in developing a better understanding of the impact of the process on court users and who may be seeking solutions to improve their experiences.” (Criminology & Criminal Justice)

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