Report on England and Wales

  • Kate LeaderEmail author
Part of the Legal Studies in International, European and Comparative Criminal Law book series (LSCL, volume 2)


This chapter describes the participatory rights of a defendant in domestic criminal proceedings in England and Wales in both the pre-trial and trial period. The chapter also considers the law in England and Wales relating to trials in absentia, before considering participatory rights at a transnational level. As I outline in this chapter, recent policy developments in England and Wales have resulted in a number of “efficiency” initiatives theoretically designed to expedite decision making but which have resulted in the potential undermining of participatory rights for a defendant. In addition, recent changes to legal aid have made it increasingly difficult for individuals to access legal representation at different stages of the criminal process. Finally, and most significantly, the United Kingdom remains in a transitional period post “Brexit” referendum in terms of its criminal justice arrangements. The Conservative government made the repealing of the Human Rights Act and its replacement with a British Bill of Rights one of their election policies and although this has not yet materialised (indeed, it has been repeatedly delayed), as of January 2018 parliament has voted not to retain the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in domestic law when it leaves the EU. This context means that many questions of participatory rights, particularly those linked to the future of the Human Rights Act, therefore remain unresolved and a source of concern.



Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003


Criminal Justice Act 2003


Crown Prosecution Service


Director of Public Prosecutions


European Arrest Warrant


European Court of Human Rights


House of Commons


Human Rights Act 1998


Initial Details of the Prosecution’s Case


Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offender Act 2012


Letter of Request


Mutual Legal Assistance


Ministry of Justice


National Crime Agency


Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984


Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999


  1. BBC (2014) Family hears judge say victim statements make ‘no difference’. 5 August 2014. Accessed 31 July 2018
  2. Blackburn R (2015) Enacting a written constitution for the United Kingdom. Statute Law Rev 36(1):1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dawson J, Lipscombe S (2015) Briefing Paper: the European Arrest Warrant. House of Commons Library, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Dennis I (2010) The right to confront witnesses: meanings, myths and human rights. Crim Law Rev 4:255–274Google Scholar
  5. Friedman RD (2002) The conundrum of children, confrontation and hearsay. Law Contemp Probl 65:249–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Galanter M (2004) The vanishing trial: an examination of trials and related matters in federal and state courts. J Empir Leg Stud 1(3):459–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gearty C (2016) The Human Rights Act should not be repealed. Accessed 31 July 2018
  8. Goodrich P (1984) Law and language: an historical and critical introduction. J Law Soc 11(2):263–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Halewood P (1997) Violence and the international word: conceptualizing violence: presence and future developments in international law. Albany Law Rev 60(3):565–570Google Scholar
  10. Jennings I (1965) Magna Carta: and its influence in the world today: Private Publication, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Langbein J (2003) Origins of the adversarial criminal trial. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Leader K (2007) Bound and Gagged: the Role of Performance in the Adversarial Criminal Trial. Philament 11Google Scholar
  13. Leader K (2010) Closed-circuit television testimony: liveness and truth-telling. Law Text Cult, 14Google Scholar
  14. Loughlin M (2003) The idea of public law. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Maguire M (2012) Criminal statistics and the construction of crime. In: Reiner R, Morgan R, Maguire M (eds) Oxford handbook of criminology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 206–244Google Scholar
  16. Ministry of Justice (2012) Swift and Sure Justice: The Government’s Plans for Reforms of the Criminal Justice System. Stationery Office, London. Accessed 31 July 2018
  17. National Audit Office (2006) Effective use of magistrates’ courts hearings. Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General. HC 798 Session 2005–2006Google Scholar
  18. O’Brian W (2005) The right of confrontation: US and European perspectives Law Q Rev 121:481, 494Google Scholar
  19. Padfield N (2012) The right to self-representation in English criminal law. Revue internationale de droit pénal 83(3):357–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Picinali F (2014) Innocence and burdens of proof in English criminal law. Law Probab Risk 13:243–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ridout F (2010) Virtual Courts, Virtual Justice. Criminal Law and Justice Weekly. 24th September 2010.–-Virtual-Justice (available on LexisNexis since April 2018)
  22. Redmayne M (2010) Confronting Confrontation. LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Papers 10/2010Google Scholar
  23. Rose D (2011) Beef and liberty: fundamental rights and the common law. Atkin Memorial Lecture. Accessed 31 July 2018
  24. Rossner M (2013) Just emotions: rituals of restorative justice. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rose D (2014) Beef and liberty: fundamental rights and the common law. Atkins Memorial Lecture. Full text available at:
  26. Rossner M (2016) Does the placement of the accused at court undermine the right to a fair trial? LSE Law Policy Briefing. Accessed 31 July 2018
  27. Rowden E (2013) Virtual courts and putting ‘Summary’ back into ‘Summary Justice’: Merely Brief, or unjust? In: Simon J, Temple N, Tobe R (eds) Architecture and justice: judicial meanings in the public realm. Ashgate, Farnham, SurreyGoogle Scholar
  28. Souza K, Kemp V (2009) Study of defendants in Magistrates’ Courts. Ministry of Justice, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Spigelman J (CJ) (2005) The principle of open justice. Univ N S Wales Law J 29(1):147–166Google Scholar
  30. Transform Justice (2016) Justice denied? The experience of unrepresented defendants in the criminal courts. Accessed 10 Jan 2017
  31. Vick DW (2002) The human rights act and the British Constitution. Texas Int Law J 37:329–372Google Scholar
  32. Vogler R (2013) Report on England and wales. In: Ruggeri S (ed) Transnational inquiries and the protection of fundamental rights in criminal proceedings. Springer, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Ward J (2015) Transforming ‘Summary Justice’ through police-led prosecutions and “Virtual Courts”: is “Procedural Due Process” being undermined? Br J Criminol 55(2):341–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zydervelt S, Zajac R, Kaladelfos A, Westera N (2016) Lawyers’ strategies for cross-examining rape complainants: have we moved beyond the 1950s? Br J Criminol 57(3):551–569Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York Law School, Freboys Lane, University of YorkHeslington EastUK

Personalised recommendations