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The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial$
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John H. Langbein

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199287239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287239.001.0001

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The Prosecutorial Origins of Defense Counsel

The Prosecutorial Origins of Defense Counsel

Chapter:
(p.106) 3 The Prosecutorial Origins of Defense Counsel
Source:
The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial
Author(s):

John H. Langbein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199287239.003.0003

In the 1730s, English judges began to depart from the rule against defense counsel in cases of felony, by allowing counsel to examine and cross-examine witnesses. This change in practice effectively extended adversary procedure from treason to ordinary felony. The judges acted in response to a series of innovations in prosecutorial practice which had eroded the older notion of the trial as a lawyer-free altercation between accuser and accused. These prosecutorial developments included the reward system, commencing in the 1690s, which offered huge bounties to encourage the prosecution of certain serious property crimes, at the risk of inducing false witnesses; the crown witness system for obtaining accomplice evidence in gang crimes, which created further incentives for perjured testimony; and the growing use of prosecution lawyers (especially among institutional prosecutors such as the Mint and the Bank of England) to investigate and prosecute criminal cases.

Keywords:   Bank of England, criminal gangs, criminal trial, crown witness, defense counsel, high treason, judges, Mint, perjury, prosecution counsel

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