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Transforming Summary Justice : Modernisation in the Lower Criminal Courts (Hardcover) (Jennifer Ward)
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Sweeping changes are being introduced into the lower tier magistrates’ courts in England and Wales in efforts to ‘modernise’ and speed up the system. But these transformations are fundamentally changing the way justice is delivered. This book analyses criminal court streamlining processes, and argues there are areas where ‘procedural due process’ is being undermined.
The book reports empirical research with ‘lay’ magistrates, whose day-to-day work interacts with these changes. Views and experiences drawn from them are valuable since magistrates perform a central role in justice administration. Further, they provide a wider understanding of the context in which the lower criminal courts operate, and enable a critical appraisal of this unique style of ‘lay justice’.
The book is directed at undergraduate and postgraduate students of criminology and criminal justice. It will also be of interest to justice and legal professionals who are seeing swingeing alterations to the fields in which they work. The book will have appeal in the UK, but also in other common law jurisdictions where similar modifications to lower court justice is occurring, as well as across Europe, where lay involvement in legal decision-making is being debated and becoming accepted practice.