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Foreign nationals before the criminal courts: immigration status, deportability and punishment

Dr Ana Aliverti

British Academy

Proposed as a pilot project, it will involve the analysis of decision-making processes in two criminal courts in Birmingham. Specifically, this research will investigate whether and in which ways the immigration status of the defendant influences the decision to prosecute, the defence’s legal strategy, the decision on bail, and sentencing choices. In addition, it will examine the impact that a prospective deportation of the defendant has on sentencing decisions.The proposed research aims to investigate the impact of immigration status on the treatment of defendants before the criminal justice system. While citizenship and immigration status are in principle irrelevant for establishing criminal liability and punishment, this research seeks to examine whether and to what extent they influence everyday decisions by criminal justice actors.

The proposed project, which lays the foundation of a larger research project, is both topical and timely given the unprecedented levels of human mobility and the impact of mass migration on public services, including the criminal justice system.