Law as Last Resort: Prosecution Decision-Making in a Regulatory Agency

Paperback | February 15, 2003

byKeith Hawkins

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This is a book about the life of the legal system. Its concern is legal decision-making, its focus the handling of prosecution cases in a regulatory agency. In almost all legal disputing formalities are employed as a last resort for a small proportion of cases. Case attrition is a constantfeature in the legal system, whether criminal or civil, since extensive pre-trial negotiations search for solutions to problems that avoid the costs, risks, and delays of trial. This book analyzes the attrition of cases by studying decisions made about their creation, handling, disposal, andprosecution. Exploring these issues asks questions about the public face of law, the meaning of formal processes, and their impact on pre-trial legal manoeuvring. To prosecute is to enforce the law in both a public and a consequential way. In enforcing regulation prosecution visibly takes sides in thefundamental dilemma of regulatory control about how far law should justifiably intervene in business. Using extensive data collected over a fifteen-year period, and with privileged access to the UK Health and Safety Executive, the book presents a multi-level analysis of decisions about prosecutionpolicy and individual cases in a variety of inspectorates.

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From the Publisher

This is a book about the life of the legal system. Its concern is legal decision-making, its focus the handling of prosecution cases in a regulatory agency. In almost all legal disputing formalities are employed as a last resort for a small proportion of cases. Case attrition is a constantfeature in the legal system, whether crimina...

Keith Hawkins is Reader in Law and Society, and Fellow and Tutor in Law at Oriel College, Oxford

other books by Keith Hawkins

Format:PaperbackDimensions:508 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.08 inPublished:February 15, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199243891

ISBN - 13:9780199243891

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsPart I: Formalities1. Themes, Perspectives, Questions2. Organizing Ideas3. Pre-Trial ProcessesPart II: Surround4. Decision-Making EnvironmentsPart III: Field5. Formal Structure and Practice6. Prosecution Policy7. Symbols and ImagesPart IV: Frame8. Enforcers' Theories of Compliance and Punishment9. The Instrumental Frame: Will Prosecution Have an Impact?10. The Organizational Frame: Prosecuting as Advertising11. The Symbolic Frame: The Social Construction of Blame12. The Legal Frame: Can a Case be Made?Part V: Reflection13. On Prosecution, Legal Decision-Making, and LawAppendix: Research Methods and Data SourcesReferencesIndex of AuthorsIndex of Subjects

Editorial Reviews

`Law as Last Resort is Hawkins' magnum opus ... a broad scoped, definitive work on the process of law, from its everyday instrumental and expressive purposes, to its symbolic and dramatic uses. He has produced a work of serious scholarship and significant practical implications. Hawkins'sdedication to studying decision making in its natural setting has revealed intricacies of law and regulation heretofore unavailable.'Diane Vaughan, Professor of Sociology, Boston College