Random justice 2

April 8, 2005

France and Germany both have trial by jury as defined by Alan Macfarlane: citizens chosen at random whom the state has to convince of the defendant's guilt. The main difference compared with the UK system is that they deliberate together with the judge and decide both questions of law and facts.

The "Roman law reception" in continental Europe (and Scotland for that matter) was a reception of private law, not criminal law, the process in private litigation in these countries is adversarial, not inquisitorial.

The main "advantage of being (on) an island", as Macfarlane writes, seems to be that even as an academic you need not know a lot about foreign countries to write about them.

Burkhard Schafer
Edinburgh University

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