Letter: Justice in Europe

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The Independent Culture

Justice in Europe

Sir: The European Court of Human Rights' decision to hear James Bulger's mother has nothing to do with "a move towards the kind of justice associated with Islamic courts" ("Bulger's mother in human rights pleas, 16 September).

Rather, allowing family members of the deceased to be represented in homicide trials or appeals is a long-standing feature of criminal procedure on the Continent.

The French system, for example, permits the deceased to be represented as a partie civile and his or her lawyer will be allowed to rebut attacks on the character of the deceased etc.

So this has nothing to do with Islam but is a striking example of how the Roman law model of criminal justice is often quite different from our own Anglo-Saxon common law system, which traditionally has been much more protective of the rights of the accused than Continental systems.


London EC4