Chapter

Safe in Whose Hands? Judges, Experts, and Public Opinion in the Homicide Reform Process

Jeremy Horder

in Homicide and the Politics of Law Reform

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561919
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743306 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199561919.003.0001

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Safe in Whose Hands? Judges, Experts, and Public Opinion in the Homicide Reform Process

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This chapter tells the story of efforts to reform the law of homicide in England and Wales. The story is one in which no serious attempt has been made by any government to discover the views of the general public on reform. Successive governments have simply overseen a reform process in which individuals and interest groups — representing special interests — compete for a reforming influence with civil servants and ministers. It is argued that impartial and comprehensive research into, and a degree of deference to, public opinion on the scope of homicide is essential to the reform process. It is essential principally as a means of conferring true legitimacy on homicide reform. Elite or expert opinion alone will never authentically secure such legitimacy. A true liberal democracy will build in to legislation opportunities for citizens in good conscience periodically to oppose cherished liberal principles currently governing homicide law.

Keywords: homicide reform; liberal democracy; public opinion; legitimacy

Chapter.  35049 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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