U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Judge Without Jury: Diplock Trials in the Adversary System

NCJ Number
J Jackson; S Doran
Date Published
344 pages
Based in an analysis of trials by a judge sitting without a jury in Northern Ireland ("Diplock" courts), this book examines the impact on the adversarial criminal process of the replacement of the jury trial with trial by a judge alone.
The Diplock trial system was introduced in Northern Ireland in 1973 on the recommendation of Lord Diplock as part of a package of measures designed to deal more effectively with the growing threat of political violence. The Diplock court deals with those violent offenses associated with terrorism in Northern Ireland. All other offenses are handled with traditional court procedures that allow for jury trials. The authors first examine the history and operation of the Diplock system, the controversy surrounding its introduction, and the crises that it has faced in over 20 years of operation. This is followed by the development of a theoretical framework that involves two ideal models of proof: an adversarial or contest model and an inquisitorial or inquest model. Between these two ideal types there is a spectrum on which any particular trial format can be located. The authors then turn to an assessment of whether the absence of the jury has caused the Diplock trial to veer from the contest model and toward the inquest model. In making this assessment, the authors observed 43 Diplock and jury trials in Belfast Crown Court from 1989 to 1991 and conducted interviews with several judges and members of the bar who work in Diplock courts. They further analyzed the transcripts of the cases in the sample. Three chapters focus on specific aspects of practice at trial, including judges' approaches to the enforcement of the rules of evidence and procedures, the extent to which judges permit counsel to develop factual issues in the respective forms of trial, judicial questioning during the oral testimony of witness, and how judges reach decisions of fact in Diplock trials. In determining whether the Diplock court has changed the character of the traditional adversarial criminal trial, the authors neither attack nor defend such a court, but rather draw lessons from the practical workings of a system of trial by judge alone. Tables of cases and statutes, a subject index, and a 364-item bibliography


No download available