'Cracked' and Ineffective Trials in England and Wales

Roger Evans, Liverpool John Moores University
Mandy Burton, University of Leicester
Andrew Sanders, Manchester University

Cracked and ineffective trials are a major source of inefficiency in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. The finanhcial cost alone of ineffective hearings in the magistrates court and Crown Court is estimated to be in excess of 80 million, without considering the further effects on the capacity of the crimninal justice system to deliver justice and maintain public confidence. research by government, including the National Audit Office, the CPS Inspectorate and the LCD has established that there are various reasons for 'cracked' and ineffective trials but the research rarely or never talks to multiple players in cases. Thus these 'reasons' are really categories e.g. 'witnesses fail to appear' without any explanation about why did did not appear. This paper discusses what some of these reasons may be and what steps need to be taken to reduce the number of 'cracked' and ineffective trials.

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Updated 05/20/2006