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By Stephen Shute

This ebook stories on examine which investigates the perceptions of ethnic minorities bearing on their remedy within the legal courts. It examines the level to which ethnic minority defendants and witnesses in either the Crown courtroom and the magistrates' courts perceived their therapy to were unfair, whether or not they believed any unfairness to were the results of ethnic bias, and even if this had affected their self assurance within the felony courts. The research, conducted by way of the Oxford Centre for Criminological learn in organization with the college of Birmingham for the Lord Chancellor's division, concerned observations of instances and interviews with greater than 1000 humans (defendants, witnesses, barristers, solicitors, judges, magistrates and others), and enthusiastic about courts in Manchester, Birmingham and London. a good listening to? Ethnic minorities within the felony courts starts off via exhibiting how extensively held the idea has been that ethnic minorities are discriminated opposed to through the courts and by way of different firms within the felony justice procedure. It discusses the standards that contributed to this trust, together with the findings of the Macpherson document and the thought of 'institutional racism'. the most a part of the publication then seems on the institutional atmosphere during which the learn came about, the event of defendants and witnesses, their perspectives approximately how they have been handled via the legal courts, and the perspectives of others concerned with the court docket approach. ultimate chapters within the ebook handle the difficulty of sensitivity to ethnicity at the a part of judges, magistrates and attorneys. It indicates that attitudes and practices are seemed to have replaced for the higher and examines what extra has to be performed to extend the arrogance that contributors of ethnic minorities have within the equity of the legal courts.

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Chapter 9 discusses the experience of witnesses. Chapter 10 examines how far attitudes and behaviour towards ethnic minorities are perceived to have changed over time and identifies a ‘cultural shift’ towards the elimination of behaviours which might give rise to perceived racial bias in the criminal courts. The views of all parties on what still needs to be done to improve the confidence of ethnic minorities in the criminal courts are presented in Chapter 11. The chapter draws together the findings, discusses their implications, and suggests some ways in which the system might be improved so as to reduce yet further the number of cases in which minority ethnic defendants perceive themselves to have been unfairly treated simply because they are from an ethnic minority.

4 Perceptions of unfair treatment in the court due to racial bias: main issue raised in the magistrates’ courts (percentages rounded) Magistrates’ courts: defendants interviewed Black What unfair? 94 Again, this shows that a large majority, nine out of ten black and seven out of eight Asian defendants, did not definitely perceive racial bias in their treatment by the court. 3 shows that, in the Crown Court, the majority (23 of the 35; 65 per cent) of the black defendants who complained of racial bias – 15 per cent of all those sentenced – said that the sentence they had received was more severe than that which a white person in the same circumstances would have received.

37 A Fair Hearing? 3 Perceptions of unfair treatment in the court due to racial bias: main issue raised in the Crown Court (percentages rounded) Crown Court: defendants interviewed Black What unfair? Asian Total N:171 % N:75 % N:246 % Total unfair treatment in court 57 33 20 26 77 31 Total unfair treatment in court due to race 35 21 9 12 44 18 Proportion of unfair treatment in court attributed to race 35/57 61 9/20 45 44/77 57 Sentence unfair due to race (of the 226 sentenced) 23 23/157 13 15 5 5/69 7 7 28 28/226 19 12 6 4 2 3 8 3 6 6/30 4 20 2 2/11 3 18 Conduct of court staff unfair due to race 0 0 0 0 0 0 Conduct of barrister or solicitor unfair due to race 0 0 0 0 0 0 Delays/procedure unfair due to race 0 0 0 0 0 0 Conduct/attitude of judge unfair due to race Unhappy with jury due to race (of the 41 jury trials) 8 8/41 3 20 In the magistrates’ courts: less than half (38 per cent) of the 26 per cent of black defendants – that is one in ten (21/214)92 of those interviewed – and 37 per cent of the 31 per cent of Asian defendants93 – one in eight (13/113) of the total – who said that they had been treated unfairly attributed the perceived unfairness to the fact that they were from an 92 As in the Crown Court, a lower proportion of defendants of ‘mixed race’ and ‘other black background’ (5 per cent) complained of racial bias in court, than did ‘Black Caribbeans’ (14 per cent).

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