Fair Trials

The European Criminal Procedural Tradition and the European Court of Human Rights

By Sarah Summers

The right to a fair trial has become an issue of increasing public concern. In determining the scope of this right, Europeans increasingly look to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but the court has given little guidance, focusing on reconciling procedural rules rather than addressing the broader issues. This book addresses the issue of the meaning of the right by examining the contemporary jurisprudence in the light of a body of historical literature which discusses criminal procedure in a European context. It argues that there is in fact a European criminal procedural tradition which has been neglected in contemporary discussions, and that an understanding of this tradition might illuminate the discussion of fair trial in the contemporary jurisprudence. This challenging new volume elucidates the meaning of the fair trial and in doing so challenges the conventional approach to the analysis of criminal procedure as based on the distinction between adversarial and inquisitorial procedural systems. The book is divided into two parts. The first part is dominated by an examination of the fair trial principles in the works of several notable European jurists of the 19th century, arguing that their writings were instrumental in the development of the principles underlying the modern conception of criminal proceedings. The second part looks at the fair trials jurisprudence of the ECHR and it suggests that, although the Court has neglected the European tradition, the jurisprudence has been influenced, albeit unconsciously, by the institutional principles developed in the 19th century.

188 pages

Publication Date: 8/9/2007
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781841137308