Plea Bargains, Guilty Pleas and the Consequences for Appeal in England and Wales
University of Warwick
June 28, 2013
Warwick School of Law Research Paper No. 2013/10 (Special Plea Bargaining Edition, editor Jackie Hodgson)
The vast majority of defendants in England & Wales are convicted by way of guilty plea. The criminal justice system provides significant incentives for defendants to plead guilty, which give rise to a risk that defendants who are innocent may be pressurised into pleading guilty. As a consequence, it is important that the criminal justice system provides an effective appeal mechanism that seeks to detect and remedy wrongful convictions through guilty pleas. This paper argues that, unfortunately, consideration of the current appeal provision and the approach of the Court of Appeal to guilty pleas reveals that this is unlikely to happen. Further, it is argued that a contributory factor in this failure to address the risk of wrongful conviction by way of guilty plea is the contradiction and lack of clarity in the meaning attributed to the guilty plea at different stages within the criminal justice process.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: guilty pleas
Date posted: July 9, 2013 ; Last revised: October 2, 2013