Simon Jenkins Comment: It's time to reform archaic court process
(Posted on 22/01/21)Share:
In his column for the Guardian newspaper today, Simon Jenkins argues that due to the pandemic, the courts should take the opportunity to introduce major reforms.
In the paper he writes that jury trials are archaic, and should be abandoned other than in exceptional cases. In addition, the restrictive job demarcation between solicitors and barristers should end. All qualified lawyers should have rights of audience before any judge or panel of judges.
Mr Jenkins says the crime and incarceration rates in England and Wales are notoriously among the worst in western Europe. I am convinced that a significant reason is that the jury system presents each case as a staged drama enveloped in publicity, an echo of a public hanging. Jurors naturally associate guilt with imprisonment, and judges tend to do likewise.
Either way, our system is obsessed with imprisonment above all other forms of punishment.