Legitimacy, Courts and State-Induced Guilty Pleas in Britain
The State-induced guilty plea process threatens the legitimacy of courts as institutions because, in contrast to the case of strikes, public disorders and homeless claimants, its practices cannot be characterised as arising out of a 'one-off ' political or social 'crisis' to be responded to, however irregularly, before returning to normalcy. Because the process of State-induced guilty pleas is intended to replace in whole or part the promise of adversary justice, it challenges the foundations on which the claim of legitimacy of criminal courts has traditionally rested. Legitimacy and rationality are placed at risk when courts consciously promote trial-avoidance mechanisms as fair and just when they are aware that there are good reasons for their rejection.
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