skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 183620 Find in a Library
Title: Right of Silence: The Impact of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
Author(s): Tom Bucke; Robert Street; David Brown
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 110
Sponsoring Agency: Great Britain Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate
London, SW1H 9AT, England
Publication Number: ISBN 1-84082-424-7
Sale Source: Great Britain Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate
Information and Publications Group
Room 201
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London, SW1H 9AT,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: England's Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 made important changes to the right of silence; failure by an accused to mention facts during police questioning, that are later relied on at trial, or failure to testify at trial may now by the subject of prosecution comment at trial.
Abstract: To evaluate the impact of the law, relevant Court of Appeal decisions were examined, observations were made at 13 police stations, and investigating police officers who had carried out interviews with suspects were surveyed. The court held that failure by the police to disclose details of the prosecution case prior to interview did not make evidence of the accused's silence inadmissible. Legal advice to remain silent did not necessarily mean that the accused's failure to mention facts later relied on in court was reasonable and that no inferences could be drawn. Provisions of the law did not lead to an increase in the demand for legal advice by suspects held in police custody. Legal advisors increasingly asked for and were generally given more information about the case against their clients prior to police interviews. Despite decreased reliance on silence, there was no change in the proportion of suspects providing admissions. Some interviewees felt that silence would generally play only a marginal role in the decision to prosecute, although it could provide an additional item of evidence on which to base the decision to prosecute and could tip the balance in favor of prosecution in some borderline cases. Most attorneys agreed that fewer defendants were declining to testify. The report concludes that provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act have had a marked impact on suspect use of silence at police stations, police practices in relation to interviewing and disclosure, the advice given at police stations by legal advisors, the proportion of defendants testifying at trial, the way in which cases are prosecuted and defended at trial, and judge directions to the jury. An appendix contains Sections 34-38 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. References, footnotes, and tables
Main Term(s): World criminology
Index Term(s): Confessions; England; Foreign courts; Foreign laws; Foreign offenders; Foreign police; Interview and interrogation; Police policies and procedures; Prosecution; Rights of the accused; Rules of evidence; Trial procedures
Note: Home Office Research Study 199
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.