The Right to Silence in England and Wales

  • Fenella M. W. Billing


This chapter commences with a description of the human rights framework in England and Wales, which visibly comes under the framework of the ECHR with the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK). In examining how the balance between effectiveness of law enforcement and fairness to the suspect or accused is maintained in the domestic law of England and Wales, attention is focused again in this chapter on the limitation and protection the right to silence and the right against self-incrimination. Similarly to the national law in Denmark, there is continuity between the investigative and trial phases in national criminal proceedings in England and Wales. This is demonstrated by looking into the connections in the law between, for example, the manner of advising a suspect of the right to silence, the availability of pre-trial legal advice and the drawing of inferences of guilt from the accused’s silence at trial. The law relating to confessions and administrative questioning powers as well as covert surveillance are also examined. Together with Chaps.  3 and  5, this chapter lays the foundation for a comparison with the national laws of Denmark and Australia in Chap.  6 showing the how the differences in procedural rules about the right to silence may cause admissibility problems in transnational cases. It also becomes part of the vertical perspective in Chap.  7, looking at the question of uniformity of trust-building minimum standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Fenella M. W. Billing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LawAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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