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World Factbook of Criminal Justice Systems: England and Wales

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1993
This report provides information and statistics on England's and Wales' criminal justice system, including its police, courts, and corrections.

England and Wales have an uncodified constitution. The British Constitution is a blend of statute law, precedent, and tradition dating back to the time of King Henry I. The Magna Carta (1215), the Bill of Rights (1688), and the Act of Settlement (1700) represent the three major statutes that define British legal and political history. The criminal justice system of England and Wales is the historical pioneer of the common law type of legal system. In England, courts expanded and the law evolved according to decisions made in individual cases. The late 19th and 20th centuries have seen an increase in the number and scope of statutes and of delegated legislation in British law. The legal system in England and Wales is adversarial in all courts, including the juvenile courts. The prosecution must disclose relevant information to the defense, but there is no corresponding duty by the defense. This report's section on crime discusses the classification of crime in England and Wales as well as crime statistics. A section on crime victims considers the groups most victimized by crime, victims' assistance agencies, the role of victims in prosecution and sentencing, and victims' rights legislation. A section on the police addresses its administration, technology, resources, training and qualification, police powers and use of discretion, suspects' rights, and accountability. Other sections of the report describe the prosecutorial and judicial process, the judicial system, penalties and sentencing, prisons, and extradition and treaties. 37 references

Date Published: June 1, 1993