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'The McDonaldization of justice and the disappearance of fair trial?' Conference: 19- 21 May 2022
From 19 - 21 May 2022 the 11th conference in the series The Future of Adversarial and Inquisitorial System, a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, North Carolina, Bologna, Basel and Duke University will be hosted at Scarman House, University of Warwick.
The conference draws upon what Ritzer has described as a kind of McDonaldization of criminal justice. As the trial becomes increasingly rare, along with opportunities to challenge the reliability of evidence, the accused finds herself encouraged to make an admission at the earliest opportunity based on the information gathered during the police investigation. The presence of defence counsel at strategic points in the process lends some legitimacy, but the practices of law reflect little of the safeguards and values so celebrated in the rhetoric of both adversarial and inquisitorial-type systems. Processes are being ‘simplified’ – not in ways that make the process clear and easy to navigate – but through the removal of fundamental safeguards deemed too costly and time-consuming such as juries, judicial investigation, or any form of trial or contestation of charges. Added to this are new types of evidence, gathered in as yet unregulated ways, the nature and provenance of which require careful scrutiny if they are to form the basis of prosecution and conviction.
Several conference panels will be devoted to discussion of these themes drawing on Hodgson’s The Metamorphosis of Criminal Justice (2020, OUP). In this work, through a comparative analysis of the potentially radical and fundamental changes taking place across two contrasting jurisdictions (England and Wales, and France), she explores the ways that criminal justice traditions continue to be shaped in different ways by broader policy and political concerns, and the ways in which different systems adapt, change and distort when faced with (sometimes conflicting) pressures domestically and externally. This comparative lens also illuminates the ways that, in England and Wales and in France, different procedural values may serve to structure or limit reform, and so work to facilitate or resist change.
The main conference takes place on Friday 20th and the morning of Saturday 21st May. View the programmeLink opens in a new window.
All are welcome but you must register via email and there is a small charge for attendance (£35 Friday, including lunch; £25 Saturday). You are also welcome to join the conference dinner on the evening of Friday 20th May at a cost of £35.
More details including conference programmes and registration details can be found here.