Reviews

Publication Date01 Jan 1976
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1976.tb01446.x
REVIEWS
JUST
How
JUST
?
By
DAVID
LEWIS
and
PETER
HUGHMAN.
[London:
Secker
&
Warburg.
1975. 189 pp.
(including notes and index)
€3-90.1
THIS
book was clearly not written specifically
for
either students
or
academics,
but written with
a
wider readership in mind. It
is
not
a
work of great scholar-
ship in the academic sense of the word, since it relies almost exclusively upon
derivative material. The whole text proceeds on the basis
of
a
value judgment
that the system of criminal justice should always ensure that an innocent
person the subject
of
an
accusation of a criminal offence
is
carefully
protected.
Thus,
it is argued, various safeguards are essential even though
these may be used to their advantage by those whom Sir Robert Mark calls
‘‘
professional criminals.” The authors see erosions into the principle
of
innocence until guilt
is
proved. Sometimes they seem to be grinding an axe
as
in the penultimate chapter which relies rather too heavily upon the case
of
Stafford and Luvaglio in
1967
in making its point.
It
just happens that
the authors have written another book dealing with the case.
To
its credit
however the book
is
eminently readable and is also thought-provoking. It
provides an interesting overview
of
the structure of criminal procedure and
a
sensible discussion of much of the work that has been done by acadcmics on
various aspects
of
the administration
of
criminal justice.
After
a
brief introduction to personnel and the criminal courts, the authors
look more closely
at
Justices of the Peace and strongly criticise the processes
of recruitment and training for what is rightly regarded to be the execution
of
a
crucial social function. The point is made, that recurs throughout the book,
that magistrates are too free to follow their own personal beliefs. Next the
authors look at the problems which arise for an accused person at the initial
stages of police investigation and
a
powerful argument is advanced for the
introduction
of
a
system of independent inquiry similar
to
that which operates
in Scotland. Chapters
3
and
4
deal with the controversial area of remands in
custody and release on bail. They provide
a
useful summary of research in
this area and conclude that magistrates
prefer the undisciplined exercise
of
personal
morality and discretion to the informed and consistent applicatiun
of a judicial one.”
A
major proposition in the book is that it is essential for the protection
of the individual that legal advice be available right from the initial stages
of
police investigation
to
redress the imbalance between the
resources
and
expertise of
police
and
accused.
Since
98
per cent. of criminal matters are
dealt with by magistrates, the defects of legal representation
at
this stage
are seen
as
crucial. The increased use of duty solicitors
is
suggested
as
a
means
of
reducing the level of non-representation. Chapters
6
and
7
consider
the role and function
of
the jury and review attempts to ascertain by empirical
research how juries come to their verdicts. Despite doubt about the eficacy
of
juries,
the
authors
seem
to see the institution
as
an important safeguard
against police over-zealousness in prosecution. The only reforms suggested are
dealt with far
too
briefly. It is suggested that juries might
as
an experiment
be asked to give reasons for their decisions and that a system of pleading similar
to that in civil cases be adopted in criminal cases and such papers made avail-
able
to
the jury. Such radical proposals merit considerably more argument than
that devoted
to
them.
The book also
looks
at the Judges’
Rules
and the right to silence, suggesting
that the protection they afford is largely illusory. These chapters contain
entertaining accounts of how an accused might be
verballed
and high-
light the journalistic style which contributes
to
the readability of the book,
110

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