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State, citizen, and character in French criminal process

Field, Stewart ORCID: 2006. State, citizen, and character in French criminal process. Journal of Law and Society 33 (4) , pp. 522-546. 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2006.00369.x

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This paper charts some major differences in the way in which evidence of the defendant's character is treated in France when compared with practice in England and Wales. Such evidence is more pervasive and visible (especially in the most serious cases) and its relevance is more broadly defined. Further, its presentation is shaped by a developed and positive conception of the French citizen. In part, these differences may be explained by differences in procedural tradition: the unitary trial structure in France, the dominance of fact—finding by the professional judiciary, and the rejection of general exclusionary rules of evidence. But a full explanation requires French legal culture to be understood in the context of French political culture. This reveals a very different conception of relations between state and citizen to that of Anglo-Saxon liberalism. As a result the legitimacy of trial is seen in terms of the rehabilitation of the accused as a citizen of the state rather than simply the punishment of a particular infraction.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Wiley Blackwell
ISSN: 0263-323X
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 09:03

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