Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800-1865: Passioned for the Hour

Hardcover | September 1, 1998

byDavid J. A. Cairns

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The modern adversarial criminal trial emerged from the punitive and procedural upheaval in the criminal law of the first half of the nineteenth century. The campaign against capital punishment, which marked the century's early decades, stimulated procedural reform, including the enactment in1836 of the Prisoners' Counsel Act. The 1836 Act enabled defence counsel for the first time to address the jury in felony trials. It generated a unique debate in Parliament, the press and the legal professions on the merits and dangers of advocacy. This book examines the debate and the practicalimplications of procedural reform for the conduct of criminal trials. The topics discussed include the increasing sophistication of prosecution and defence advocacy, the beginnings of modern professional ethics and the conscious rationalisation of adversary procedure as the best means to discoverthe truth. This is the first scholarly work to analyse the practice of advocacy and to identify its significance for the administration of justice. It includes case studies of four major criminal trials which demonstrate the interrelationships between advocacy and procedure in the making of the adversarialcriminal trial. This is the first title of a new series, Oxford Studies in Modern Legal History, which, under the general editorship of Professor Brian Simpson, will publish outstanding monographs on legal history covering the period 1750 onwards.

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The modern adversarial criminal trial emerged from the punitive and procedural upheaval in the criminal law of the first half of the nineteenth century. The campaign against capital punishment, which marked the century's early decades, stimulated procedural reform, including the enactment in1836 of the Prisoners' Counsel Act. The 183...

David Cairns is a New Zealand barrister. He studied at the universities of Auckland, Toronto and Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198262841

ISBN - 13:9780198262848

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Table of Contents

1. The context of upheaval2. The early nineteenth century trial3. The logic of reform4. Full defence by counsel5. The complexities of defence inequality6. The limits of adversarialism7. The adversarial criminal trialAppendicesThe Prisoners Counsel Act 1836Conviction rates 1805-40The defence speech in R v Courvoisier

Editorial Reviews

`excellent book ... David Cairns' study of the early nineteenth-century criminal trial makes compelling reading. It is a thorough and highly readable piece of scholarship which convincingly calls for a realignment of our perspective on the critical historical steps which led to the emergenceof English criminal adversarial procedure.'Roderick Munday, Justice of the Peace Vol 163