Presumption of Innocence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R v Lambert
    • House of Lords
    • 05 Julio 2001

    The distinction between constituent elements of the crime and defensive issues will sometimes be unprincipled and arbitrary. After all, it is sometimes simply a matter of which drafting technique is adopted: a true constituent element can be removed from the definition of the crime and cast as a defensive issue whereas any definition of an offence can be reformulated so as to include all possible defences within it.

    Where there is objective justification for some inroad on the presumption of innocence the legislature has a choice. The first is to impose a legal burden of proof on the accused. If such a burden is created the matter in question must be taken as proved against the accused unless he satisfies the jury on a balance of probabilities to the contrary: The Eleventh Report of the Cr.L.R.C., para 138. This risk is not present if only an evidential burden is created.

  • R (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice; Re McCartney & McDermott
    • Supreme Court
    • 11 Mayo 2011

    In Sekanina v Austria (1993) 17 EHRR 221, para 30, for example, the court said that the voicing of suspicions regarding a person's innocence is conceivable as long as the conclusion of criminal proceedings has not resulted in a decision on the merits but that it was no longer admissible to rely on such suspicions once an acquittal has become final.

  • Richard v British Broadcasting Corporation
    • Chancery Division
    • 18 Julio 2018

    If the presumption of innocence were perfectly understood and given effect to, and if the general public was universally capable of adopting a completely open—and broad-minded view of the fact of an investigation so that there was no risk of taint either during the investigation or afterwards (assuming no charge) then the position might be different. The fact of an investigation, as a general rule, will of itself carry some stigma, no matter how often one says it should not.

  • R v Lambert
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 31 Julio 2000

    If the defendant is being required to prove an essential element of the offence this will be more difficult to justify. If, however, what the defendant is required to do is establish a special defence or exception this will be less objectionable. The courts are required to balance the competing interests involved.

  • R v Johnstone (Robert Alexander)
    • House of Lords
    • 22 Mayo 2003

    The more serious the punishment which may flow from conviction, the more compelling must be the reasons. So also does the extent to which the burden on the accused relates to facts which, if they exist, are readily provable by him as matters within his own knowledge or to which he has ready access.

  • Brown v Stott (Procurator Fiscal, Dunfermline)
    • Privy Council
    • 05 Diciembre 2000

    The jurisprudence of the European Court very clearly establishes that while the overall fairness of a criminal trial cannot be compromised, the constituent rights comprised, whether expressly or implicitly, within article 6 are not themselves absolute. Limited qualification of these rights is acceptable if reasonably directed by national authorities towards a clear and proper public objective and if representing no greater qualification than the situation calls for.

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  • The Victims' Rights (Scotland) Regulations 2015
    • Scotland
    • 1 de Enero de 2015
    ...... accused of the offence and to avoid any conflict with the presumption of that person's innocence, the Regulations refer to a victim as a person ......
  • Criminal Justice Act 1925
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1925 prove the innocence of the accused. . . All statements made by the accused and all evidence. ... S-47 . Abolition of presumption of coercion of married woman by husband. 47 Abolition of presumption of ......
  • International Criminal Court Act 2001
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2001
    ......determination of guilt or innocence;. . . (c) To have legal assistance of the person's choosing, or, if the ... the relevant factors surrounding the bail application with no presumption in favour of, or against, granting bail. . 40. Section 17 covers various ......
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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
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  • Chapter DMBM668020
    • HMRC Guidance manuals
    • Formularios de Derecho Civil, Mercantil y Registral
    ......presumption of innocence throughout. precise articulation of the charge. adequate ......
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