The Metamorphosis of Criminal Justice: A Comparative Account

5 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

See all articles by Jacqueline Hodgson

Jacqueline Hodgson

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: July 12, 2019


The focus of this book is the potentially radical and fundamental changes that are taking place within criminal justice in Britain and in France and the ways that these are driven by wider domestic, European or international concerns. The criminal justice process in England and Wales has been undergoing something of a metamorphosis, moving away from established adversarial values, rules and practices, in many instances eroding what were once regarded as core rights and freedoms in the name of efficiency, security and justice to victims. What is at the end of this process, is unclear. There is no single coherent model or framework, no obvious direction of travel, no unifying objective, but rather, a set of responses to issues and imperatives arising at different points in time – ranging from the crisis in confidence around miscarriages of justice in the 1980s and 90s, to the preoccupation with risk and efficiency that took hold in the 1990s, the accelerated security driven agenda after the events of 9/11, and the austerity measures applied across the public sector in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. France, too, is experiencing a shift away from the more judicially-centred procedures and values that have characterized the inquisitorial tradition, in favour of measures promoting efficiency, security and a justice system that is more responsive to the needs of victims. Like England and Wales, there is no clear direction of travel or underpinning rationale, but a series of un-coordinated and often politically-driven changes that taken together, undermine procedural integrity and process values. At the same time, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the European Union (EU) have promoted pan-European fair trial and due process standards, challenging some of the more repressive domestic trajectories of criminal justice and influencing national reforms.

Keywords: adversarial, inquisitorial, France, European criminal justice, EU, ECHR, comparative, due process rights, efficiency, McDonaldization, defence, prosecution, miscarriage of justice,

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Hodgson, Jacqueline S., The Metamorphosis of Criminal Justice: A Comparative Account (July 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Jacqueline S. Hodgson (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

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