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The right to speedy trial: A comparative analysis of the administration of criminal justice in Jamaica, England and the United States of America

Harrison, Diana Theresa; (1993) The right to speedy trial: A comparative analysis of the administration of criminal justice in Jamaica, England and the United States of America. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The criminal justice system in Jamaica has sadly lagged in terms of reform measures. There is an urgent need to assess and evaluate the present administration of justice and explore new reforms so as to bring the administration of the criminal justice system and legal rules and procedure in line with modern methods. The efficiency of our criminal justice system may be assessed and evaluated in terms of a principle dating back to Magna Carta: "To no one will we sell, to no one will we delay rights or justice." This principle, now commonly referred to as the "right to speedy trial" or "trial within a reasonable time", is affirmed by the European Convention of Human Rights in articles 5(3) and 6(1). It is also acknowledged in the Jamaica Constitution, section 20 (1) and (11). Indeed, it is a major provision in most legal systems of the western world. The focus of this thesis is, therefore, on this principle as it is applied in the common law legal system. Particular emphasis is on the Jamaica criminal justice system, especially at the superior court level where inordinate delays and court congestion are major problems facing the criminal courts. In fact, the Gun Court Act of 1974 was passed in Jamaica as a method of diverting firearm related offences from the mainstream of the criminal justice system so as to effectuate speedy trials of such offences. The Act has, however, failed to achieve this purpose. This study will be the first empirical investigation of the scale and scope of the problem and of the factors causing the congestion of our criminal justice system in Jamaica. The questionnaire was conducted in 1989 when the bulk of this research was done. There has been no significant procedural or structural changes in the criminal justice system since that date. This study will be conducted in a comparative framework so as to draw upon the speedy trial reforms of England and the United States of America in particular. The reform approaches which will be examined include pre-trial procedures, such as preliminary inquiry, plea bargaining and disclosure and the management and organization of the court, personnel and the processing of criminal cases. This will be done with a view to ascertaining in what respect, if any, reforms in these more advanced jurisdictions can be successfully implemented in Jamaica, taking into consideration the country's limited resources.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The right to speedy trial: A comparative analysis of the administration of criminal justice in Jamaica, England and the United States of America
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences; England; Jamaica; Speedy trial; United States
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104305
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