'We're Vulnerable Too': An (Alternative) Analysis of Vulnerability within English Criminal Legal Aid and Police Custody

30 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2017 Last revised: 28 Nov 2017

See all articles by Roxanna Dehaghani

Roxanna Dehaghani

Cardiff University

Daniel Newman

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School

Date Written: October 20, 2017

Abstract

English Abstract: This paper considers criminal justice through the lens of vulnerability theory, drawing attention to unexplored or underexplored vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. We address three layers of vulnerability. The first identifies those who have more traditionally, although not unproblematically, attracted the label ‘vulnerable’; suspects in the criminal process. The second examines the vulnerability of those who, as humans, can be appreciated as vulnerable, but, within their roles in the criminal process, are not typically considered vulnerable – custody officers and defence lawyers. The third, least considered, explores the vulnerability of institutions – the police service and criminal legal aid system. Institutional failure to provide resources, and thus bolster the resilience of suspects and practitioners, can serve to further exacerbate vulnerability. Using empirical data, we explore how vulnerability manifests within the crucial early stages of the criminal process. In doing so, we provide a more holistic and critical account of vulnerability within the criminal justice system.

Spanish Abstract: Este artículo aborda la justicia penal desde la óptica de la teoría de la vulnerabilidad, y llama la atención sobre las vulnerabilidades no exploradas o poco exploradas del sistema de justicia penal de Inglaterra y Gales. Nos ocupamos de tres capas de vulnerabilidad. La primera se identifica con aquéllos que tradicionalmente, aunque no sin polémica, han atraído la etiqueta de "vulnerables"; sospechosos en el procedimiento penal. La segunda examina la vulnerabilidad de aquéllos que, como humanos, se pueden percibir como vulnerables, pero, en sus roles dentro del procedimiento penal, normalmente no están considerados como vulnerables - oficiales encargados de la custodia y abogados defensores. La tercera, la menos tenida en cuenta, explora la vulnerabilidad de las instituciones - el cuerpo policial y el sistema jurídico de asistencia penal. La omisión o el incumplimiento institucional al proporcionar recursos, y por tanto al reforzar la resiliencia de sospechosos y profesionales, puede exacerbar la vulnerabilidad. Utilizando datos empíricos, analizamos la forma en que la vulnerabilidad se manifiesta en los primeros y cruciales momentos del proceso penal. De este modo, proporcionamos una explicación más holística y crítica de la vulnerabilidad en el sistema judicial penal.

Keywords: Austerity, neo-liberalism, lawyers, police, suspects, access to justice, vulnerability, Austeridad, neoliberalismo, abogados, policía, sospechosos, acceso a la justicia, vulnerabilidad

Suggested Citation

Dehaghani, Roxanna and Newman, Daniel, 'We're Vulnerable Too': An (Alternative) Analysis of Vulnerability within English Criminal Legal Aid and Police Custody (October 20, 2017). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 7, No. 6, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3056198

Roxanna Dehaghani (Contact Author)

Cardiff University ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Daniel Newman

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

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