Criminal cases are commonly seen as a fight between adversaries of equal strength: the intrusive power of the State versus skilled defence lawyers advocating their clients' cause. The reality, according to this major new study, is rather different. The provision of defence counsel is often rudimentary and unsatisfactory.
Based upon one of the largest studies of legal professional practice ever undertaken, involving nearly fifty solicitors' firms, this book offers a critical examination of the practices and organisation of defence lawyers in Britain from the moment of initial contact with clients through to the routine preparation and representation of defendants in both Magistrates' and Crown Courts, the authors show how defence lawyers discharge their obligations to clients. For the first time, this study reveals the role of paralegals and unqualified staff in providing defence assistance, and highlights how their inexperience and assumption of their client's guilt can critically undermine defendants' rights.
The deficiencies highlighted by their research leads the authors to question the effectiveness of recent liberal and managerial reforms, with their excessive reliance on market-led considerations. The authors propose a cultural transformation in criminal defence work, a reassertion of the defendants' rights within an adversarial system, and offer constructive suggestions for improving defence services.
Extensively researched and documented, this study is a major contribution to current debates about the criminal justice system, and as such will be required reading for all lawyers, scholars and professionals interested in the administration of justice.
`Disturbing conclusions ... Standing Accused is powerful evidence of the extent to which the client is dependent on lawyers ... the book identifies fundamental concerns about the provision of legal service which need to be addressed.
David Pannick QC, The Times
`The book really is compulsive reading for anyone engaged in criminal defence work.
`Standing Accused makes out a prima facie case against the existing arrangements, calls into question the roseate view commonly taken of the virtues of legal representation in criminal cases, and that anyone who reads this book will be driven to ponder further the professional standards and philosophy which ought to underpin a system of criminal defence. It is a significant and unsettling work.
Cambridge Law Journal
`Standing Accused is powerful evidence of the extent to which the client is dependent on Lawyers ... the book identifies fundamental concerns about the provision of legal service which need to be addressed.
`a compelling and characteristically provocative research report which is a credit to all concerned: the researchers and authors for their hard work, and Oxford University Press for conceiving its Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice series sufficiently broadly to include empirical studies ... Standing Accused is an impressive and disturbing work which will intrigue and entertain and dismay the reader ... It does ... stand a good chance of
becomming a sociological classic; and in the meantime the book's accessible style and intelligent use of vivid empirical material ought to commend it to a wider audience than the "lawyers, scholars and professionals interested in the administration of justice" for whom the publishers (justifiably) assert that
Standing Accused is compulsory reading
Law Quarterly Review
`This is a timely, important and salutary book.
Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 17th February 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.2
Weight (kg): 0.68