Understanding Miscarriages of Justice: Law, the Media and the Inevitability of a Crisis

Hardcover | January 15, 2000

byRichard Nobles, David Schiff

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Understanding Miscarriages of Justice explores a paradox. In a society in which justice is uncertain and contested, how can we talk meaningfully about miscarriage of justice? The book examines the structural conditions that inevitably produce high-profile miscarriages of justice. The thesis of the book is that there is a tension between the rhetoric of justice as understood outside of law, particularly in the media, and legal practice. Despite evidence that miscarriagesof justice must be a normal and expected consequence of imperfect arrangements for investigations, prosecutions, and trials, they are ordinarily understood as exceptional and unacceptable events. Periodically, however, miscarriages are seen not as exceptional, but widespread and normal. At suchmoments, the legitimacy of the criminal justice process is called into question in the media. These moments are constructed in the media as a crisis of public confidence in criminal justice. With the mass media's vivid interest in crime and punishment and their relentless reconstruction of relevant facts, the courts fact-finding monopoly is fundamentally contested. While this happens in all phases of a criminal process, the contest becomes particularly dramatic when after a criminalconviction the mass media continue their investigation and discover, according to their criteria of truth, a miscarriage of justice. But there is no set of common criteria that would allow for the design of rational procedures to end the contest. There is no forum, no procedure, and no set ofcriteria that would make possible a common search for truth.

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Understanding Miscarriages of Justice explores a paradox. In a society in which justice is uncertain and contested, how can we talk meaningfully about miscarriage of justice? The book examines the structural conditions that inevitably produce high-profile miscarriages of justice. The thesis of the book is that there is a tension betw...

Richard Nobles and David Schiff are both Senior Lecturers at LSE

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Format:HardcoverPublished:January 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198298935

ISBN - 13:9780198298939

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Problematizing miscarriage of justice3. Remedying miscarriages of justice: the history of the Court of Criminal Appeal4. Into and out of crisis: a recent history of media reporting on miscarriages of justice5. Scientific evidence and the new Criminal Cases Review Commission: the scope for further miscarriages of justice and crisis6. From understanding miscarriage of justice to reformBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`... can be recommended without hesitation as required reading on the subject.'Law Quarterly Review