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Judiciary and litigation are the two most prominent types of activities within the legal profession. The judicial aspect of the profession entails the interpretation of laws and the administration of justice in a fair and impartial manner. As a concept, justice entails protecting society from offenders and evildoers who deviate from society’s norms and engage in illegal behaviour by punishing and sentencing them. Due to the predominance of the human factor in the legal profession, which has such a significant impact on the lives of all members of society, it is crucial to investigate whether there is a guiding force behind dispensing justice and, if so, how effective these guidelines or policy measures have been. As crime rates rise and societal standards fall in the contemporary era, the legal profession grapples with the complexities of modern criminal behaviour. Particularly in the realm of judicial sentencing, there is a need for guidelines that account for the diversity of crimes and their individualistic nature. In India, long pungencies in court cases and a decline in the State’s conviction rate further exacerbate these issues. This paper examines the pressing need for comprehensive, well-structured sentencing guidelines that promote transparency, fairness and efficiency in the judicial process. Through a detailed review of recent high-profile court cases and an analysis of current practices and policies, this paper highlights the urgency of reform in the sentencing process to enhance public trust in the legal system. This article provides additional information on the subject.
The modern professional world of international adjudication bears little trace of the ‘invisible college’ theorized by Oscar Schachter 50 years go. Instead, it has become a social field marked by a fierce competition among actors possessing unequal skills and influence. Moving from these premises, this article unravels the socio-professional dynamics of the community of legal experts – judges, arbitrators, government agents, private counsel, court bureaucrats, specialized academics, etc. – dealing with the judicial settlement of international disputes on a daily basis. On the one hand, the community has developed a specific set of social structures, practices, and dispositions that distinguish it from the rest of the international legal profession and insulate its activities from outside interference. On the other, it is the site of an endless struggle among its participants, who deploy various forms of capital to consolidate their positions relative to one another. Having outlined the twofold structure of the community – externally autonomous and internally conflictive – the article reflects on how co-operation and competition affect the everyday unfolding of international judicial proceedings and the production of legal outcomes at the international level.
The legal professions in Asia are a plural concept. Many Asian countries are civil law jurisdictions in which lawyers, judges, and prosecutors are separately licensed. Even in common law jurisdictions, lawyers rarely are a homogeneous group. Moreover, there are paralegal or unauthorized occupational groups that parallel the profession of lawyers. The meaning of being a “lawyer” in Asia, therefore, is often more complex and controversial than in North American or European contexts. The different types of legal professions range from barristers and solicitors in Hong Kong and unified legal professions in other former British colonies, to Continental-style judges and prosecutors in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, Soviet-style “iron triangles” of police, procurators, and judges in China and Central Asia, and to unlicensed “barefoot” lawyers across the continent. This chapter provides an overview of the plurality of legal professions and their demographic and sociological characteristics. It goes on to highlight the legal service market, demonstrating the connections between lawyers and different kinds of clients and practice areas, and the interactions between the legal professions, judicial system, and state. The chapter concludes with readings on the role of lawyers in transforming the state—and the impact of state transformations on lawyers themselves.
New digital technologies, from AI-ﬁred 'legal tech' tools to virtual proceedings, are transforming the legal system. But much of the debate surrounding legal tech has zoomed out to a nebulous future of 'robo-judges' and 'robo-lawyers.' This volume is an antidote. Zeroing in on the near- to medium-term, it provides a concrete, empirically minded synthesis of the impact of new digital technologies on litigation and access to justice. How far and fast can legal tech advance given regulatory, organizational, and technological constraints? How will new technologies affect lawyers and litigants, and how should procedural rules adapt? How can technology expand – or curtail – access to justice? And how must judicial administration change to promote healthy technological development and open courthouse doors for all? By engaging these essential questions, this volume helps to map the opportunities and the perils of a rapidly digitizing legal system – and provides grounded advice for a sensible path forward. This book is available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
‘ The inns of court man that never was studient’ argues that the contemporary stereotype of the idle and dissolute young inns of court gallant with more interest in playgoing than reading law reports, while doubtless exaggerated for moral and satirical effect, is corroborated by an abundance of biographical evidence. It also reflects two prime causes of student delinquency and disinclination for legal studies: lack of supervision and the intractability of the common law as a subject of study. ‘Guides to Method’ surveys the legal literature available to students, concluding that it offered little assistance to those attempting to navigate the law’s complexities. ‘Lay and Professional Legal Knowledge’ emphasises the gulf between the practising barrister’s expertise and the kinds of legal knowledge which most laymen were likely to need or possess.
Yet members acquired and exercised a remarkably wide range of non-legal accomplishments and skills. ‘Accomplishments and the Decline of Creativity’ argues that the inns did little to encourage such activities, especially after c.1615. ‘Varieties of Learning’ surveys the remarkably diverse intellectual life of the early modern inns, while the closing section ‘Achievements, Failures, Prescriptions’ evaluates their diverse roles as educational institutions, and the few contemporary proposals for their reform.
This chapter maps the continued presence of Roman Catholics at the inns of court, from the accession of Elizabeth and her protestant church settlement of 1559 to the eve of the civil war. ‘Survival and Resurgence’ shows that besides a significant remnant of Catholic lawyers who had held firm to their traditional beliefs and successfully resisted conformity to the new dispensation, the 1570s saw the arrival of missionary priests charged with reviving the old faith. Besides supporting existing Catholics, they sought new adherents among the gentlemen students of the inns of court, as a vital step towards freeing the country from heresy.
Notwithstanding a battery of increasingly restrictive measures aimed at excluding Catholics from the inns, ‘Quietism and Survival’ shows that papists continued to be admitted and even promoted to the bar and bench. But the anticipated flood of well-born converts did not eventuate, and in the early seventeenth century the failure of Gunpowder Plot saw a more relaxed and tolerant attitude towards Catholics, at the inns as elsewhere, on the part of both government and the inns’ rulers. While both pragmatic and commendably tolerant, this policy stance underestimated the political potency of anti-popish paranoia among the population at large.
After an introductory excursus on the concept of the inns as early modern England’s third university, this chapter outlines the form of legal instruction which they provided by means of oral ‘learning exercises’, notably case-putting in moots and other exercises involving the argument of hypothetical cases in law, and ‘readings’ or lectures at both the inns of court and chancery.
The second section (‘The State of the Learning Exercises to 1640’) considers the supposed decline in the performance of exercises. It argues that even though they may have been rendered largely obsolete by the advent of the printed law-book, there is little to suggest that they were not generally performed in a conscientious and regular fashion before the outbreak of the civil war. But it was one thing to preserve the system as a going concern, quite another to revive it after the disruptions of the 1640s and ‘50s.
After outlining the motivation for a second edition, this opens with a brief account (‘Origins’) of how the book first came to be written and published. It then proceeds to discuss (‘Continuities and Changes’) the 1960s-early ‘70s historiographical context in which it was created and its positive reception on first publication. Some criticisms, questions and suggestions raised by readers and reviewers are also outlined and discussed. The following section (‘New Ways and New Work’) canvasses the impact of the digital revolution on scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, together with the burgeoning of specialised research, and explains how the large body of new work bearing on the history of the early modern inns has been accommodated in the following text. The final section (Future Directions) looks at challenges and opportunities for further research on the inns, addressing a wide range of questions and topics of interest to both general and legal historians.
The Tudor and Stuart inns of court were major centres of learning and literature, as well as professional associations of practising lawyers. This book sketches the evolution of the inns from their medieval origins and traces the dramatic impact of the societies' rapid expansion through the Elizabethan era and beyond. Prest's comprehensive study based on original sources surveys the structure and functions of the inns, outlining key aspects, from tensions between junior and senior members to the nature and effectiveness of their educational role. Its lively prose locates the inns within the cultural, political, religious, and social context of Shakespearean and pre-civil war England. This corrected and revised second edition of a classic work addresses recent scholarship on the early modern inns of court and includes a new chapter introducing the book to twenty-first-century readers.
The first section (‘Centralisation’) traces the consolidation of authority in the hands of the benchers, whose internal supremacy appears to have been of fairly recent origin, and the growing interest of Elizabethan governments in the societies, with the effect of strengthening the benchers’ powers. Before the great expansion of membership, most of the routine administrative chores necessary to keep the societies operating on a day-to-day basis were undertaken by members themselves. But thereafter there was increasing reliance on salaried officers or servants (‘Bureaucratisation’), especially the creation of full-time administrative positions to assist the nominal temporary head of each society, the treasurer. On-going provision of catering and lodging depended on a continuously expanding domestic establishment. However the inns had both a ‘Servant Problem’, and a ‘Management Problem’. Servants depended for much of their income on tips and perquisites, leading to various conflicts of interest, while much of the responsibility for overseeing the societies’ affairs was shouldered by a small minority of benchers. The chapter concludes with a glance at difficulties experienced in managing the societies’ finances, which encouraged the commutation of former academic requirements into cash payments.
‘History and Historiography’ shows that the history of the inns of court has tended to be written from a foreshortened perspective, taking insufficient account of changes in the function and operation of the societies. ‘Membership and Residence’ traces the impact of a massive expansion in student enrolments from the mid-sixteenth century, including the resultant shortage of on-site accommodation, while explaining why the nature of the surviving records and the inns’ own distinctive practices and requirements makes it impossible to precisely determine their size as residential institutions during this period. It concludes with a brief account of the changes in ‘Architecture and Topography’ consequent upon the inns’ membership expansion.
‘The Clerical Establishment’ of the inns of court ranged from lowly chaplains who conducted daily services to well-paid pulpit orators appointed as ‘lecturers’ or preachers to deliver regular sermons in the Temple Church and chapels of Gray’s Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. The advent of the preacherships and the prominent presbyterians among those divines who first held these positions has been regarded as signalling the strength of puritan zeal at the inns. But ‘The Elizabethan Experiment’ argues that both were actively encouraged by government as an anti-Catholic measure, rather than simply reflecting the benchers’ own religious preferences.
‘Moderates and Radicals’ shows that while most inns’ preachers from 1600 to 1640 were radical protestants, such zealots did not monopolise their pulpits. ‘The Puritan Lay Presence’ considers in more detail the religious attitudes of the inns’ lawyer members. While Lincoln’s Inn was the godly brethren’s stronghold, all four houses served as recruiting grounds and points of contact for those committed to further reformation of church and commonwealth. But if a combination of ideological and material forces tended to attract common lawyers to the godly camp, there were always lawyers anxious to support the established church and to reject its more extreme puritan critics.
The nature of whatever ‘Political Education’ was imparted to students at the inns is difficult to determine. While possibly enhancing their political awareness, it did not simply operate in one direction. Historians have been impressed by links between the inns and parliament, but contemporaries were probably more aware of their ties with the royal court. ‘Court Connections’ were manifest in masques presented at court, and associations between prominent courtiers and the inns, as well as between the central government and the inns’ rulers. The most spectacular demonstration of this affinity was the 1634 joint masque, The Triumph of Peace, an extravaganza presented by all four inns in repudiation of William Prynne and his alleged libel against women actresses, including Queen Henrietta Maria.
But ‘Towards Civil War’ shows that the rapprochement between the inns and Charles I’s court was never complete. The inns lay low during the political struggles before the outbreak of hostilities, although an armed band of 500 students offered their services to the king just before his attempted arrest of the 5 members in January 1642. When war did come, the inns’ allegiance was effectively determined by their location in parliamentarian London.
The first section of this chapter, ‘The Scope of Discipline’ traces the fashion in which the benchers initially sought to impose disciplinary constraints on members’ behaviour and demeanour. The growth of the inns after 1550 made it increasingly difficult to police the personal lives of junior members. But the benchers became more anxious to maintain and enhance their own authority, establishing sumptuary regulations on apparel, long hair and beards which emphasised the subordinate status of those below the bench, and sharply escalating measures against casual interpersonal violence within the societies.
They seem to have had some success in eliminating armed assaults, if not other forms of physical violence, while traditional violent behaviour outside the walls of the inns appears to have waned towards the end of our period. However, as ‘The Range of Defiance’ illustrates, collective defiance of and disobedience to the bench became a feature of life from the 1610s onwards, with sporadic outbreaks continuing until the end of the century and beyond, over sumptuary regulations, gambling at Christmas commons, and other issues.
The final section, ‘Authority and Revolt’ proposes that outbreaks of protest and rebellion in the latter half of our period were closely related to the major institutional changes examined in the preceding chapters.
Having examined the societies’ human dimensions, we may look more closely at their internal structure. As membership numbers grew, the intimacy of corporate life tended to weaken (‘From Clerks to Students’), while call to the bar, previously no more than an internal rank of membership, had become the necessary qualification for audience in the superior courts. ‘The Rise of the Barristers’ and mounting pressure of numbers seeking call impelled the inns to prescribe formal qualifications, in terms of years of ‘continuance’ and participation in specified oral law-learning exercises. While non-academic factors, especially patronage and tenure of legal office, also played a part, use of the exercises to qualify for aa potentially lucrative legal career at the bar encouraged evasion or perfunctory performance. Meanwhile promotion to the governing bench of each society was no longer so intimately associated with the delivery of a ‘reading’ on a branch of statute law, and lawyer members who held major office under the crown or in the bureaucracy of the law courts were increasingly given automatic promotion as benchers or associates to the bench (‘From Readers to Benchers’).
As voluntary unincorporated societies, the inns hardly existed apart from their members. This chapter opens with a discussion (‘Motives and Status’) of reasons for the boom in admissions to membership from the mid-sixteenth century and the unsuccessful efforts to regulate and restrict that expansion. The following section (‘Income and Social Origins’) considers economic barriers to membership and the familial origins of those so admitted during the half-century before the Long Parliament, concluding that the inns’ students were generally recruited from a considerably higher social stratum than the student population of the two ancient universities. The chapter moves on to examine the ‘Regional Origins’ of inns of court entrants, showing that while they came from all over England, Wales and Ireland, each society had a distinctive regional recruitment pattern. At the same time, attendance at the inns did much to strengthen the national identity of the future governing elite, rather than merely reinforcing local divisions. A final section (‘Social Tensions and the Exodus of the Gentry’) points to tensions between young gentlemen students and the inns’ lawyer members, contributing to the gradual abandonment of the inns as finishing schools for the upper ranks of society after the civil wars.
When we were discussing the idea of an edited volume on legal experts and legal expertise for the first time, our aim was to a large extent descriptive, to lay before the reader many types of legal experts that have so far remained invisible. But our idea for the conclusion was slightly different. We hoped to be able to draw together multiple lines of investigation and to create a typology of legal experts. The envisioned typology would group legal experts working in the most varied kinds of regulatory, policy-making and operative tasks in the EU policy-making context on the basis of some recognisable and common traits that all legal experts share.
This article, written by Michelle Celik, outlines some of the working practices for an information professional in a barristers' chambers, highlighting how the culture differs to that of law firms. Michelle describes how the role has evolved since she began working in a set of chambers and the impact that Covid-19 has played on information provision in recent years. She discusses the importance of external libraries to the needs of barristers and her own relationship with the staff within chambers.
This article has been written by Harpreet K. Dhillon, with contributions from colleagues at Gray's Inn Library, Inner Temple Library, Middle Temple Library and Lincoln's Inn's Library. During the course of the article, Harpreet looks at the way the four of Inns of Court libraries support barristers, though will use the term members interchangeably throughout. The Inns have their own histories, and the libraries function in their own unique ways, so the focus of this article are those key services provided by all the libraries and their relevance to the continuing work of Inn members. The article has been written using anecdotal evidence and contributions from all the library teams, concluding that the Inn libraries play a crucial and ongoing role in supporting the work of barristers, a role that evolves and will continue to do so alongside the legal profession's demands.
This article by Niamh Burns, Senior Manager for Library & Member Support Services at the Bar of Northern Ireland, provides a brief overview of the history of the Bar of Northern Ireland and an explanation of the Bar Library model and the services it provides. She provides an insight into some of the current issues facing the barrister profession in Northern Ireland, then focuses on what the Bar of Northern Ireland's Library & Information Service is doing to support members of the Bar Library in meeting some of their challenges.