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The Oxford History of the Laws of EnglandVolume XIII: 1820–1914 Fields of Development$
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William Cornish, J Stuart Anderson, Ray Cocks, Michael Lobban, Patrick Polden, and Keith Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239757.001.0001

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The Trial: Adversarial Characteristics and Responsibilities; Pre-trial and Trial Procedures

The Trial: Adversarial Characteristics and Responsibilities; Pre-trial and Trial Procedures

Chapter:
(p.58) III The Trial: Adversarial Characteristics and Responsibilities; Pre-trial and Trial Procedures
Source:
The Oxford History of the Laws of England
Author(s):

Keith Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239757.003.0003

This chapter shows that throughout the 19th century, significant changes occurred in the roles and personnel of law enforcement, along with a drip feed of ameliorative state measures. Such developments took place against a background of several decades of the steady push of reformers, successfully resisted by defenders of the status quo. Aside from a victim's personal inclination and means, the likelihood of prosecution turned substantially on the attitudes and practices of local magistrates and constabulary. The period also saw fundamental changes in criminal trials on indictment, both in respect of the roles of the dramatis personae and the rules which regulated them. This was true of the judge, prosecution, and most especially the defendant. It was a process of change, in large measure wrought by the relatively small but slowly swelling ranks of lawyers participating in trials from the early 18th century, initially almost exclusively acting for the prosecution.

Keywords:   English law, criminal law, prosecution, defence, criminal evidence, summary trial, jury trial

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