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Victims' Rights, Human Rights and Criminal Justice

Reconceiving the Role of Third Parties

By: Jonathan Doak
Media of Victims' Rights, Human Rights and Criminal Justice
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Published: 29-04-2008
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 340
ISBN: 9781841136035
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £43.99
Online price : £39.59
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Loren Epson

About Victims' Rights, Human Rights and Criminal Justice

In recent times, the idea of 'victims' rights' has come to feature prominently in political, criminological and legal discourse, as well as being subject to regular media comment. The concept nevertheless remains inherently elusive, and there is still considerable ambiguity as to the origin and substance of such rights. This monograph deconstructs the nature and scope of the rights of victims of crime against the backdrop of an emerging international consensus on how victims ought to be treated and the role they ought to play. The essence of such rights is ascertained not only by surveying the plethora of international standards which deal specifically with crime victims, but also by considering the potential cross-applicability of standards relating to victims of abuse of power, with whom they have much in common. In this book Jonathan Doak considers the parameters of a number of key rights which international standards suggest victims ought to be entitled to. He then proceeds to ask whether victims are able to rely upon such rights within a domestic criminal justice system characterised by structures, processes and values which are inherently exclusionary, adversarial and punitive in nature.

Table Of Contents

1 The Evolution of Victims' Rights
I. The Victim through History
Shifting Ideologies: The Political State
II. The Rebirth of the Victim
Victims in Contemporary Criminal Justice Policy: The Realisation of Rights?
III. The Normative Basis for Victims' Rights
Defining 'Victims'
Defining 'Rights'
The International Perspective
IV. Victims' Rights and the Adversarial Process
2 The Right to Protection
I. Protection from Victimisation
Positive Obligations: The Duty to Protect Life
Ramifications for Domestic Practice
II. Secondary Victimisation
The Nature and Extent of the Problem
International Standards
Domestic Practice
IV. Conclusions
3 The Right to Participation
I. Prosecution and Pre-Trial Processes
Influencing Prosecutorial Decisions
Private Prosecutions
Preparing for Trial
II. The Trial Process
Participation within the Adversarial Context
III. Sentencing
The International Perspective
Domestic Practice
IV. Conclusions
4 The Right to Justice
I. International Standards
International Human Rights Law
Progressing the Concept
II. The Right to a Remedy in the Domestic Legal Order
Victims of Non-State Crime
III. A Right to Truth?
International Developments
Truth in the Adversarial System
The Trial
The Verdict
IV. Conclusions
5 The Right To Reparation
I. Reparation as an International Standard
The Origins of Reparation in International Law
Reparation in Human Rights Law
Lessons from International Criminal Law
II. Realising Reparation in the Criminal Justice System
State Compensation
Reparation from the Offender
III. Rethinking Reparation
IV. Conclusions
6 A Place For Victims' Rights?
I. Victims' Rights and Adversarial Justice
The Nature of Victims' Rights
The Inherent Limits of Adversarial Justice
II. Alternative Approaches
Restorative Justice
The Inquisitorial Approach
III. Looking to the Future
Reforming the Adversarial Paradigm


“This monograph offers a detailed and skilfully argued case for the recognition of a set of victims' rights in an English criminal justice system. It is well researched and referenced and the arguments are carefully marshalled in a lucid and readily comprehensible fashion...this monograph will surely be appreciated by all those interested in criminal justice as it brings a valuable new contribution to the case for better recognition of victims' rights.” –  Barry Mitchell, Criminal Law Review

“In his survey of international human rights standards the author takes a broad approach, considering not only provisions dealing specifically with the victims of crime but also those dealing with victims of abuse of power generally. His treatment of the topic covers not only the more obvious sources such as the European Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on Victims, but a welter of other charters and instruments. As well as this, the associated jurisprudence is thoroughly dissected and analysed...this is a very scholarly, thoughtful and well-argued contribution to an important and ongoing debate.” –  John E. Stannard, International Review of Victimology

“...unlike other publications that mainly focus on the international arena, Doak's book is itself an interesting insight into how a deeply adversarial national criminal justice system can reconceive its foundations to provide effective standing to those affected by the commission of international and domestic crimes...The book is well researched, and it contains a thorough bibliography and an efficient index...Doak's study provides a thought-provoking approach for scholars and practitioners working on victims' participation and rights at a national level, especially but not exclusively within an adversarial environment, or at an international level.” –  Juan Pablo Perez-Leon Acevedo, Journal of International Criminal Justice

“Doak comprehensively analyses the potential and impact of human rights standards and the significance of legal globalization upon the position of the victim within criminal justice. It is this comprehensive and unifi ed analysis for which the book stands out, and which should make it a primary reference point for those seeking an in-depth analysis of victims' rights, human rights and criminal justice….a very timely and worthwhile read for criminologists with an interest in victims of crime and human rights. It also will strongly appeal to legal academics, particularly those with interests in criminal law/procedure and human rights.” –  David O'Mahony, British Journal of Criminology, vol 49, no 4

“...we should be thankful to Dr. Doak...for this well researched and well written study of so difficult and important a subject. I know of no better resource to assist judicial officers in understanding the evolution of the legal concept and reality of victims' rights…” –  Provincial Judges' Journal, Vol. 31(2)

“This book engages with many of the most important questions that arise from the theoretical interaction between criminal justice and human rights frameworks; and from the practical involvement of victims in criminal justice. It is written in an accessible style and should be of interest to a wide range of readers, including policy-makers and researchers. While its focus is primarily the English criminal justice system, it moves between domestic and international developments, further broadening its appeal. Most importantly, it recognises that the landscape of victim's rights is constantly changing; and that we have only just begun to understand the implications of these changes.” –  Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Current Issues of Criminal Justice, Volume 21, Number 3

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