Democracy in the Courts : Lay Participation in European Criminal Justice Systems book cover
1st Edition

Democracy in the Courts
Lay Participation in European Criminal Justice Systems

ISBN 9780754674054
Published June 12, 2009 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

Democracy in the Courts examines lay participation in the administration of justice and how it reflects certain democratic principles. An international comparative perspective is taken for exploring how lay people are involved in the trial of criminal cases in European countries and how this impacts on their perspectives of the national legal systems. Comparisons between countries are made regarding how and to what extent lay participation takes place and the relation between lay participation and the legal system's legitimacy is analyzed. Presenting the results of interviews with both professional judges and lay participants in a number of European countries regarding their views on the involvement of lay people in the legal system, this book explores the ways in which judges and lay people interact while trying cases, examining the characteristics of both professional and lay judging of cases. Providing an important analysis of practice, this book will be of interest to academics, legal scholars and practitioners alike.



Marijke Malsch is a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) in Leiden, the Netherlands. Her current research focuses on legitimacy of the judicial system, experts in the criminal justice system, the roles of the victim in the criminal justice system, stalking legislation, and lay participation in the criminal justice systems of European countries. She teaches law and criminology at Leiden University. Dr Malsch is an honorary judge at the Appeals Court of Den Bosch and the District Court of Haarlem.


'Democracy in the Courts explores issues critical to confidence in criminal justice: lay participation in the courts and professionals' and lay judges' views about it. Malsch provides a penetrating and important analysis of practice in five countries, concluding that citizens should be encouraged to participate, without sacrificing quality in criminal trials.' Joanna Shapland, University of Sheffield, UK