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Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865$
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David J. A. Cairns

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262848.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 March 2021

The Limits of Adversarialism

The Limits of Adversarialism

(p.126) 6 The Limits of Adversarialism
Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865

David J. A. Cairns

Oxford University Press

The enactment and implementation of the Prisoners' Counsel Act was followed almost immediately by controversy. The public and the press did not share the unqualified enthusiasm of the Act's promoters for adversarialism, and condemned some of the more zealous displays of defence advocacy under the new procedure as distasteful, deceptive, and immoral. The recurring criticisms in the press of forensic morality prompted an examination in legal literature of the duties of counsel. Some lawyers, particularly Lord Brougham, advocated an uncompromisingly adversarial conception of the duties of counsel which made commitment to the client the first forensic virtue and demanded that counsel exploit all expedient means to obtain the verdict. The predominant view was that there were moral qualifications on counsel's duty to his client, but the limits of adversarialism under this view were difficult to identify with precision.

Keywords:   Prisoners' Counsel Act, adversarialism, defence advocacy, Lord Brougham, counsel controversy, trial

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