Judges, Juries and the History of Criminal Appeals

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Law and History Review


The three articles offered in this forum on the early history of criminal appeals do us the great service of adding much of interest on this important but neglected issue in the development of Anglo–North American criminal procedure. The opaqueness of the legal history of criminal appeals stands in stark contrast to their centrality and apparent naturalness in contemporary criminal justice systems in England, Canada, and the United States. These three papers look at the period leading up to and immediately following the creation of the first formalized system of what we might call criminal appeals, the establishment of the Court of Crown Cases Reserved (CCCR) in 1848. This key period in the development of the adversary criminal trial was marked by both a concerted political effort to codify and rationalize the criminal law and by profound structural changes in the management of criminal justice.


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