Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Howlin on Juries, Politics, and Crim Con in Ireland

Niamh Howlin, Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, has posted two papers on Irish legal history.  The first is The Politics of Jury Trial in Nineteenth-Century Ireland, which appeared in Comparative Legal History (2015):
This article considers aspects of lay participation in the Irish justice system, focusing on some political dimensions of the trial jury in the nineteenth century. It then identifies some broad themes common to systems of lay participation generally, and particularly nineteenth-century European systems. These include perceptions of legitimacy, State involvement and interference with jury trials, and issues around representativeness. The traditional lack of scholarship in the area of comparative criminal justice history has meant that many of the commonalities between different jury systems have been hitherto unexplored. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to a wider discussion of the various commonalities and differences in the development of lay participation in justice systems.
The second is Adultery in the Courts: Damages for Criminal Conversation in Ireland, which is forthcoming in Law and the Family in Ireland 1800-1950, ed. K Costello and N Howlin:
This paper examines the civil action known as criminal conversation or 'Crim Con'. This allowed a husband to obtain damages from his adulterous wife's lover. No similar action existed for women whose husbands engaged in adulterous relationships.  The crim con action ceased to exist in England after 1857 but continued to be available -- and used -- in Ireland until the late 20th century. This paper examines the evolution of the action from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, its shifting rationale, its increasing popularity among the middle classes, and the nature and purpose of the damages awarded.

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