Friday, February 6, 2015

Howlin on Irish Criminal Justice History

Niamh Howlin, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, has posted two articles on the history of criminal justice in Ireland.  One is Nineteenth Century Criminal Justice: Uniquely Irish or Simply 'Not English'? which appeared in Irish Journal of Legal Studies 3 (2013): 67:
This article examines the supposed uniqueness of the Irish criminal justice system in the nineteenth century. Although the English and Irish systems of criminal justice shared common roots, by the nineteenth century it was becoming apparent that there were differences in the way that law and justice were perceived and administered. The post-Famine years had a significant (and arguably negative) impact upon British perceptions of the Irish. This article examines both general perceptions of Ireland and Irishness, from the perspective of its relationship with England, and its position in the Empire. Outsiders’ perceptions and attitudes indicated that Irish criminality and criminal justice were considered to be distinctive. However, a question arises as to whether Irish criminal justice were uniquely Irish or simply ‘not English’?
The other is Irish Jurors: Passive Observers or Active Participants? which appeared in the Journal of Legal History 35 (2014): 143-171:
What was the role played by jurors in civil and criminal trials from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century? This article establishes that during this period, juries in Ireland played a relatively active role. It examines individual reports of civil and criminal trials and considers the nature of juror participation during this period, establishing that jurors frequently questioned witnesses, berated counsel, interrupted judges, demanded better treatment and added their own observations to the proceedings. This article compares the nature and level interaction from different categories of jury – civil and criminal, common and special. It asks why Irish jurors continued to be active participants until late in the nineteenth century, and how the bench and bar received their input. It also suggests that English jurors may also have played a more active role during this period than previously thought. Finally, the article considers some possible reasons for the silencing of Irish jurors by the late nineteenth century.

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