By Stephen Shute
This booklet studies on study which investigates the perceptions of ethnic minorities pertaining to their therapy within the felony courts. It examines the level to which ethnic minority defendants and witnesses in either the Crown court docket and the magistrates' courts perceived their remedy to were unfair, whether or not they believed any unfairness to were the results of ethnic bias, and even if this had affected their self assurance within the legal courts. The examine, conducted via the Oxford Centre for Criminological learn in organization with the collage of Birmingham for the Lord Chancellor's division, concerned observations of situations and interviews with greater than 1000 humans (defendants, witnesses, barristers, solicitors, judges, magistrates and others), and all for courts in Manchester, Birmingham and London. a good listening to? Ethnic minorities within the legal courts starts off by means of exhibiting how extensively held the assumption has been that ethnic minorities are discriminated opposed to by means of the courts and through different organizations within the legal justice method. It discusses the standards that contributed to this trust, together with the findings of the Macpherson document and the idea of 'institutional racism'. the most a part of the e-book then seems on the institutional atmosphere within which the learn came about, the adventure of defendants and witnesses, their perspectives approximately how they have been handled via the felony courts, and the perspectives of others all in favour of the courtroom approach. ultimate chapters within the ebook deal with the problem of sensitivity to ethnicity at the a part of judges, magistrates and legal professionals. It exhibits that attitudes and practices are appeared to have replaced for the higher and examines what extra has to be performed to extend the boldness that individuals of ethnic minorities have within the equity of the felony courts.
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Additional info for A Fair Hearing?
In other words, the percentages cited do not represent the total number of complaints of unfairness in court, but the total number of persons who complained of such unfairness. In most cases only one main complaint was made. Where interviewees complained of several things, for example about both jury and judge, or both sentence and jury, it was usually evident which matter had troubled them most. In a handful of cases, however, the nature of the complaint was more ambiguous. For example, a defendant who complained about the severity of the sentence he had received probably also considered the judge to have been biased but we only recorded the complaint as one of judicial unfairness if it pointed specifically to the conduct of the judge, the language used or attitude displayed.
A further advantage of ‘striking while the iron was hot’ was that the matter was fresh in their minds. They appeared pleased to have someone to talk to about their experience and feelings. 66 The questionnaire is reproduced as an Appendix. We make no claims that the sample obtained for this study is representative of all who appear before the court (some of the possible biases are discussed below). However, the decision to approach defendants immediately after the case against them had concluded enabled us to obtain much larger samples than would otherwise have been possible: sufficiently large to allow comparisons to be made which could be tested for statistical significance between the experiences of minority ethnic people and white people.
This enabled us to capture the nuances and strength of their expressions of discontent. We were also successful in obtaining the consent of most of 61 In any case it would not have been proper for us to interview defendants or witnesses before the case had been completed. 62 The police charge sheet was not available in the Crown Court, nor was there any other ethnic identification in the file or computer record at two of the Crown Court centres: it only began to be included on the CREST computerised system by the time we reached the third Crown Court centre.
A Fair Hearing? by Stephen Shute