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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.

Thursday 19th May is devoted to presentations from Early Career Researchers. View the programme.
Attendance is free, but participants must register via email first to secure a place.

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.

Jackie Hodgson to speak at Cardiff Law School's workshop

Jackie Hodgson will give a paper at a workshop jointly organised by the Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice and the Cardiff Centre of Law and Society. The workshop on 'Best practice in security and justice: from cross-cultural description and explanation to transnational prescription?’ will take place on 15-16 May 2017.

To seek to further our understanding of the challenges of learning cross-culturally in relation to security and justice by examining whether - and if so how - one can usefully and validly define transnational ‘good practice.’ The workshop aims to draw on the experiences of eminent cross-cultural researchers in a range of areas such as youth justice, defence rights and lawyering, urban security, policing and crime prevention more broadly.

Jackie will present a paper on 'People or Procedures? Securing effective defence rights across legal cultures', building on research conducted on defence lawyers and the challenges of moving towards universal standards in relation to the scope, nature and quality of custodial legal assistance.

Further detail is available on Cardiff University's website:

Tue 09 May 2017, 15:42 | Tags: Comparative research, Empirical research

Call for proposals - Improving Police/Public Relations and Police Diversity

The Open Society Initiative for Europe has published a call for proposals on Improving Police/Public Relations and Police Diversity.

The call for proposals is available here and more details on their website.

New Book! Access to Justice and Legal Aid

Prof Jackie Hodgson and Asher Flynn from Monash have a new edited collection on 'Access to Justice and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need' published by Hart.

This book considers how access to justice is affected by restrictions to legal aid budgets and increasingly prescriptive service guidelines.

As common law jurisdictions, England and Wales, and Australia, share similar ideals, policies and practices, but they differ in aspects of their legal and political culture, in the nature of the communities they serve and in their approaches to providing access to justice. These jurisdictions thus provide us with different perspectives on what constitutes justice and how we might seek to overcome the burgeoning crisis in unmet legal need.

The book fills an important gap in existing scholarship as the first to bring together new empirical and theoretical knowledge examining different responses to legal aid crises both in the domestic and comparative contexts, across criminal, civil and family law. It achieves this by examining the broader social, political, legal, health and welfare impacts of legal aid cuts and prescriptive service guidelines. Across both jurisdictions, this work suggests that it is the most vulnerable groups who lose out in the way that law is now done in the 21st century.

The book is essential reading for all those interested in access to justice and legal aid.

Research Workshop at National Law University Delhi

Alan Norrie and Henrique Carvalho designed and offered a very successful two day research workshop on Critical Theory and Criminal Justice in New Delhi, India. The workshop from 6-7 April was in collaboration with the National Law University, Delhi and was supported by Craig Reeves of Birkbeck Law School. The workshop was attended by about 50 persons and included 20 presentations over two days. Sessions were held on: critical realism, critique and criminal justice; violence, gender and sexuality; penality, psychoanalysis and the death penalty; state repression, terrorism and torture; criminal justice ethics, emancipation and love; and the possibilities of legal dialogue. The workshop allowed British and Indian colleagues to share experiences of different criminal justice systems, and to engage in a theoretical dialogue about the nature and claims of a critical theoretical approach to the law. It was greatly appreciated by the participants, and discussions are ongoing as to how to take things forward.
After the workshop, Alan Norrie delivered a filmed lecture in the School of Gender and Development Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University entitled ‘Love and Justice: Can We Flourish Without Addressing the Past?’.
Sat 22 Apr 2017, 08:08 | Tags: Comparative research, Theoretical Research

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