The Social Contract and the Rules of Trial: Re-Thinking Procedural Rules

65 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2007 Last revised: 17 Aug 2008

Larry Laudan

University of Texas School of Law

Date Written: February 25, 2008

Abstract

This essay explores the connections between the criminal standard of proof, the rules of evidence and procedure, and the social contract. It argues that the deontological reification of existing procedures and standards into fixed, inviolable rights rests on an egregious misreading of what protections the contract obliges the state to provide to its citizens. It further shows that a proper definition of the appropriate standard of proof in criminal trials - which this paper purports to provide - has nothing to do with the famous Blackstone ratio and very little to do with the vexed question of the ratio of errors at trial.

Suggested Citation

Laudan, Larry, The Social Contract and the Rules of Trial: Re-Thinking Procedural Rules (February 25, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1075403 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1075403

Larry Laudan (Contact Author)

University of Texas School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

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