The Origins of Public Prosecution at Common Law

  title={The Origins of Public Prosecution at Common Law},
  author={John H. Langbein},
  journal={American Journal of Legal History},
  • John H. Langbein
  • Published 1 October 1973
  • History, Law
  • American Journal of Legal History
However fundamental he may appear to us, the public prosecutor was an historical latecomer. Judge and jury we can trace back to the high Middle Ages. But the prosecutor became a regular figure of Anglo-American criminal procedure only in Tudor times. Further, his appearance then has not been noticed in our historical literature, an especially remarkable omission when we discover that the prosecutorial office was originally lodged with a much-studied institution, the English magistracy. Ever… 
Issues of Convergence: Inquisitorial Prosecution in England and Wales?
This book reports the results of an exploratory study of the development of the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales. The English criminal procedure system is firmly rooted in
Victim Participation: A Historic Overview
In many early societies, the individual victim, or their kinship group, was responsible for crime control through different forms of private prosecution. Private prosecutions were partially
Assessing the Non-Judicial Criminal Case Settlement: A Comparative Approach
The abandonment of daily standards of conduct as abuse of authority for self-interest becomes something that violates the behavior of bureaucrats in development. Recently, the person is allergic to
Understanding the Short History of Plea Bargaining
As late as the eighteenth century, ordinary jury trial at common law was a judge-dominated, lawyer-free procedure conducted so rapidly that plea bargaining was unnecessary. Thereafter, the rise of
Punishment and the State
Criminal sanctions are typically inflicted by the state and by the state alone. This chapter investigates (by using tools of political philosophy) the normative rationales for the exclusive control
“The Terror of their Lives”: Irish Jurors' Experiences
A commentator noted in 1881 that Irishmen regarded jury service as “the greatest burden that can be inflicted upon them … they would be delighted if trial by jury was suspended tomorrow.” He later
Passive Observers or Active Participants? Jurors in Civil and Criminal Trials
What was the role played by jurors in civil and criminal trials from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century? This article establishes that during this period, juries in Ireland played a
Was the Jury Ever Self-Informing?
Until recently, there was a consensus that the medieval English jury was self-informing. That is, unlike the modern jury, the medieval jury based its verdict primarily on evidence it gathered,
Defence Counsel in International Criminal Law
The field of international criminal law is relatively new and rapidly developing. This dissertation examines whether international criminal courts enable defence counsel to conduct an effective
The mutable defendant: from penitent to rights-bearing and beyond
Abstract Contemporary criminal justice is premised on a rights-bearing defendant safe-guarded by due process from arbitrary state punishment. The paucity of academic commentary on the role of the


See Holdsworth, op. cit. supra, note 11