The Voiceless Victim: A critical analysis of the impact of enhanced victim participation in the criminal justice process

  • Sarah Moynihan

Abstract

In contrast to many European jurisdictions, the victim of an alleged crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is denied any form of meaningful participation at the trial stage of the criminal justice process. This is by reason of the unyielding structure of the Anglo-American adversarial system, which facilitates a dispute between two parties only - the prosecution, acting on behalf of the collective public interest and the defence. In recent years, however, the victims’ movement has gained momentum as advocates of victims’ rights have been engaged in an impassioned campaign to enhance the participatory rights of victims in the criminal justice process. Fervent arguments have been articulated pertaining to the value of various forms of victim input. This paper cogitates some of these arguments and critically evaluates how enhanced victim participation in the criminal justice process has the potential to undercut the integrity of the Anglo- American adversarial system; a system with objective adjudication at its core.

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