Behind Closed Doors: Live Observations of Current Police Station Disclosure Practices and Lawyer-Client Consultations

Criminal Law Review, Issue 12, 2016

25 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017 Last revised: 14 Jun 2017

See all articles by Divya Sukumar

Divya Sukumar

University of Warwick

Jacqueline Hodgson

University of Warwick - School of Law

Kimberley Wade

University of Warwick

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

Drawing on recent observational fieldwork as well as existing research studies in the fields of law and of psychology, this article examines the nature of police practices in the disclosure of evidence before and during custodial interviews of legally represented suspects. Whilst police pre-interview disclosure to lawyers was a fixed practice, the format of disclosure varied and lawyers were rarely permitted to inspect the evidence, relying instead on the officer’s account. Disclosure was sometimes provided in stages, either as a deliberate tactic or when evidence was lacking. Officers occasionally exaggerated the strength of their case to suspects and resisted providing more detail to lawyers – an approach that seemed designed to elicit an admission from the suspect. In line with past research, lawyers relied on the evidence that police disclosed when advising clients before the interview and occasionally argued with the police for more disclosure. Taken together, these findings suggest that police are complying with the minimum disclosure requirements set out by legislation, and that police may be more open with lawyers than previous research suggests. Some of our findings warrant concern, however, and raise questions about risks to vulnerable suspects in custody and risks to suspects without legal representation.

Keywords: Police Disclosure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Police Interviews

Suggested Citation

Sukumar, Divya and Hodgson, Jacqueline S. and Wade, Kimberley, Behind Closed Doors: Live Observations of Current Police Station Disclosure Practices and Lawyer-Client Consultations (December 1, 2016). Criminal Law Review, Issue 12, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2980310

Divya Sukumar

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Jacqueline S. Hodgson (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
02476 524163 (Phone)
02476 524105 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/hodgson

Kimberley Wade

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

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