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Understanding Miscarriages of JusticeLaw, the Media and the Inevitability of a Crisis$
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Richard Nobles and David Schiff

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198298939

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198298939.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Understanding Miscarriages of Justice

Richard Nobles

David Schiff

Oxford University Press

This book is based on research that explored the history of miscarriages of justice and of attempts to adopt effective measures to remedy these from early in the nineteenth century to the present. Two strands of theory have informed this research: the autopoietic systems theory and Guido Calabresi and Philip Bobbitt's classic work Tragic Choices. The theory of autopoiesis was developed by Niklas Luhmann and Gunther Teubner. The book focuses in particular on the devices used by England's Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to maintain the legal system's integrity. A parallel with criminal justice can be suggested; it is that the values of truth (a correct verdict) and fairness (due process and rights), with justice as an implied amalgam of the two, are priceless. The history of criminal appeals can be re-examined as a response to problems of tragic choice: the conflict and allocation of fundamental values within criminal justice. A process of appeal allows inevitable outcomes (miscarriages of justice) to be seen as mistakes, and rectified.

Keywords:   miscarriages of justice, criminal justice, autopoiesis, Tragic Choices, Court of Appeal, truth, fairness, due process, rights, legal system

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