Justice in the round

One of the many things I find strange about te English judicial system is the way that Crown courts are laid out physically.  It might be a trivial observation, but I fail to see how using what appears to be a collection of horse boxes and paddocks, all in dark wood, advances the cause of justice. Worse, the impression it gives is of an intensely hierarchical, intimidating mise-en-scène designed to emphasise one aspect of the system and one only: the majesty of the law.

By way of contrast I remember seeing a TV movie in the 1970s starring Don Murray and James Farentino – set in Texas – which featured a climactic courtroom scene.  As I recall, the layout of the courtroom was in the shape of a circle – a ring of light-coloured wooden desking behind which judge, jury, prosecution and defence sat equidistant from each other.  This had the effect of emphasising the interrogatory nature of the proceedings: citizens met together, on equal terms but with different reasons to be there, so that the truth might be arrived at in the arena of fairness and deliberation.  Why don’t we consider having that here?  Anything to improve the reputation and hence the effectiveness of the law.


About rimboval

Writer, thinker and proud grandfather
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