This book is about the discretions exercised by criminal trial
courts both at Crown Court and Magistrates' Court level and about
discretion in the criminal appellate process. The aim is twofold.
First, to provide a theoretical framework within which to discuss
and assess the discretions. This entails defining discretion,
outlining the reasons for the existence of discretion and
considering the means by which discretion may be controlled.
Secondly, to examine the evidential and procedural discretions
whose existence is recorded in cases, statutes, and the reports of
law bodies, and to list the known principles by which these
discretions should be exercised. The text concentrates on the law
and practice in England and Wales but the footnotes include
extensive references to the decisions and statutes of Australia,
Canada and New Zealand. The last chapter of the book examines the
way in which an exercise of discretion by a trial court, the Court
of Appeal, or the Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division
may be challenged and demonstrates that whatever the position may
have been at the turn of the century few erroneous exercises of
discretion are now inviolable.
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