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NCJ Number: 118521 Find in a Library
Title: Law, Fact and Lay Questions (From Criminal Law and Justice: Essays from the W.G. Hart Workshop, 1986, P 59-72, 1987, I H Dennis, ed. -- See NCJ-118520)
Author(s): S F D Guest
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Sweet and Maxwell
London, NW3 3PF, England
Sale Source: Sweet and Maxwell
Marketing Director
100 Ave. Road
London, NW3 3PF,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This analysis of the distinction in British criminal justice between questions of law and questions of fact and of its implications for the role of the judge and the role of the jury argues that a more useful approach would be to distinguish between lay questions and lawyer questions.
Abstract: A major problem with the word "fact" is its suggestion of the existence of a counterpart to language in the real world. However, facts are closely connected with language and its interpretation. Thus, ordinary words like "recklessly" or "dishonest" are subject to varying interpretations by a jury. Such words do not usually have a single clear meaning in relation to the subject matter of a dispute, so characterizing their application as questions of fact will produce controversial conclusions. It should be the judge's responsibility to interpret the law and tell the jury what is envisioned by a particular law, rather than leaving the jury to decide whether the kind of conduct amounts to dishonesty. Notes.
Main Term(s): Jury instructions
Index Term(s): Great Britain/United Kingdom; Judges; Jury decisionmaking; Role perception
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