Hierarchy, Bureaucracy, and Ideology in French Criminal Justice: Some Empirical Observations

31 Pages Posted: 6 May 2003

See all articles by Jacqueline Hodgson

Jacqueline Hodgson

University of Warwick - School of Law


Using observational and interview data from my own empirical study of the investigation and prosecution of crime in France, this article examines critically the extent to which three features generally considered central to inquisitorial procedure - hierarchy, bureaucracy, and ideology - exist within the structures and procedures of the French criminal process and the constraining impact they have upon the decision-making of the procureur, the judicial officer responsible for supervising the majority of criminal investigations. A broad degree of discretion is found to exist at the local and individual level and the unavailability of resources further increases disparities in practice. Nevertheless, the conventional "ideals" retain a continuing force and relevance for procureurs, who describe their work (both as they understand it to be and as they would wish it to be) in these terms and whose crime control orientation is shielded by redefining it in terms of "representing the public interest".

Suggested Citation

Hodgson, Jacqueline S., Hierarchy, Bureaucracy, and Ideology in French Criminal Justice: Some Empirical Observations. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 227-257, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=314346

Jacqueline S. Hodgson (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

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United Kingdom
02476 524163 (Phone)
02476 524105 (Fax)

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

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