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Double Jeopardy in a Global Context: A Comparative Analysis of the Right not to be Tried or Punished Twice for the Same Criminal Offense

Attila Badó (Ed.:) Studies in the Fields of Comparative Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, Pro Talentis Universitatis Foundations, Szeged, 2012, ISBN: 978-963-08-4773-5

18 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013  

Péter Mezei

Institute of Comparative Law

Date Written: November 1, 2012

Abstract

The famous English case of William Dunlop – charged by the murder of Julie Hogg – serves as a great example for the important doctrine of criminal procedure law known classically as ‘ne bis in idem’ or known as ‘double jeopardy’ in Anglo-Saxon laws i.e. the legal system of the United States. Dunlop was originally acquitted even after two jury procedures in 1991; as such, he was declared ‘not guilty’ in the charges. However, Dunlop later confessed to lying in this procedure, and admitted that he was in fact the one who had killed the young girl. In 2005, the Court of Appeals reopened the Dunlop file – based on the motion by the Chief Prosecutor at the time – and on June 16th, 2006, William Dunlop was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Julie Hogg.

An intriguing question may emerge for lawyers: does the decision made by the Court of Appeals violate the prohibition of double jeopardy? Based on English Law currently in effect, the answer is ‘no’. The present study attempts to compare the application of the ‘double jeopardy’ doctrine in the legal system of the United States, as well as in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. In addition, the study also provides an outlook on the legal system of Great-Britain. The interesting aspect of the latter is the fact that although Great-Britain is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, it has yet to sign its relevant protocol. Similarly although it is a member of the European Union it is not a member of the Schengen Area. Consequently, this situation provides a very good example of the national regulation and application of the ‘double jeopardy’ principle.

Besides the above the study provides a brief presentation of the history and development of the ‘ne bis in idem/double jeopardy’ principle, followed by the presentation of the ‘philosophy’ (legal policy principles) behind the principle.

Keywords: ne bis in idem, double jeopardy, European Court of Human Rights, Schengen, United States, United Kingdom, Dunlop case

JEL Classification: K00, K14

Suggested Citation

Mezei, Péter, Double Jeopardy in a Global Context: A Comparative Analysis of the Right not to be Tried or Punished Twice for the Same Criminal Offense (November 1, 2012). Attila Badó (Ed.:) Studies in the Fields of Comparative Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, Pro Talentis Universitatis Foundations, Szeged, 2012, ISBN: 978-963-08-4773-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2347343

Péter Mezei (Contact Author)

Institute of Comparative Law ( email )

Bocskai u. 10-12.
Szeged, H-6721
Hungary
+36-62-546-735 (Phone)

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