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NCJ Number
P Devlin
Date Published
216 pages
A series of lectures by a British judge examine various aspects of the place of the English judge in the country's political life.
The first lecture examines the issue of whether judges should be lawmakers, law reformers, and even social reformers. It is concluded that judges should apply existing law as fairly as possible to specific situations without striking out in radically new directions because the task of law reform should belong to legislators. Lectures which examine the sentencing role of the judge indicate it is the judges' task to render retribution in sentencing, so that the law's distinguishing of the severity of crimes through varying severity of punishment is upheld. The corrections concerns of the criminal justice system are viewed as being outside the expertise of the judge. Another lecture examines the traditional role of the judge as the president or arbiter at the trial. The adversarial and inquisitorial systems are compared, and the pressures which are deemed already pushing the English judicial procedures toward the inquisitorial system are identified. The judge's flexibility in applying the law in individual cases is explored in another lecture, with concern expressed that the uniform application of each law be preserved across individual cases. The interaction of the roles of the judge and jury are examined in two lectures. The preservation of the jury's decisionmaking power in determining guilt is viewed as essential; however, some influences that are eroding this power are identified. The final lecture discussed the judge's use of case law in deciding cases. Footnotes, a table of cases, and an index are provided.