Full Defence by Counsel

David J. A. Cairns

in Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198262848
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682414 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Modern Legal History

Full Defence by Counsel

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This chapter considers the enactment and the implementation of the Prisoners' Counsel Act. The first two sections of this chapter outline the course of the debate and introduce the Criminal Law Commissioners, who produced an important report on full defence by counsel in 1836. The third section considers the main argument of the reformers, which was that full defence by counsel was more conducive to the discovery of the truth than the existing procedure. The final section examines the contribution of the campaign for the amelioration of capital punishment to the success of the Prisoners' Counsel Act and, more generally, the Act's place in the transformation of the criminal law which occurred at this time.

Keywords: Prisoners' Counsel Act; Criminal Law Commissioners; full defence; counsel; capital punishment; criminal law

Chapter.  15430 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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