Open justice and investigations into deaths at the hands of the police, or in police or prison custody

McIntosh, S. (2016). Open justice and investigations into deaths at the hands of the police, or in police or prison custody. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

Lord Neuberger describes open justice as a procedural principle requiring that "what goes on in court and what a court decides is open to scrutiny".1 The prime rationale typically given for this principle is that it is a safety check on the right to a fair trial, and so instrumental to the fulfilment of the justice purposes of criminal and civil justice processes. The thesis argues that such a conception of open justice only applies on a relatively superficial level to inquests into use-of-force deaths at the hands of the state. Rather it is clear that openness in these inquests is intrinsic to the purposes of the inquests themselves, and that this is also true of other types of investigation in these circumstances. The thesis examines the practice of, and rationales behind, opening up deaths at the hands of the police, or in police or prison custody to scrutiny in order to frame a context-specific conception of open justice in the aftermath of such deaths. The focus of the thesis is police and PPO investigations into deaths in prisons, IPCC investigations into deaths involving the police, and inquests and inquiries under the Inquiries Act 2005 (where the latter replace and fulfil the role of an inquest). The thesis introduces recognition theory both as a way of understanding the potential harms that may be associated with a lack of openness regarding deaths in these circumstances, and to provide a normative link between openness and justice in these circumstances—a link that is implicit in the term ‘open justice’ but rarely explored in these non-retributive, non-compensatory justice processes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law
K Law > KD England and Wales
Divisions: The City Law School
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15340

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