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Title: “How an Ordinary Jury Makes Sense of it is a Mystery”: Barristers’ Perspectives on Rape, Consent and the Sexual Offences Act 2003
Authors: Carline, Anna
Gunby, Clare
First Published: Nov-2011
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation: Liverpool Law Review, 2011, 32 (3), pp 237-250
Abstract: The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced significant reforms to the offence of rape, amid concerns regarding the low reporting and conviction rates for rape. One of the key aims of the Act was to improve the law relating to consent, in order to assist a jury in their decision making process. In addition, disquiet had been expressed with regards to the subjective nature of the mens rea of rape. Consequently, the 2003 Act reformulated the law so as to introduce an objective test. This article discusses the findings of a qualitative research project undertaken with 14 Barristers in the North West of England, in order to investigate counsels’ opinions regarding the 2003 reforms. Drawing upon data collected from semi-structured interviews, the article examines barristers’ perspectives with regards to the definition of consent, the ‘consent presumptions’, and the reformulated mens rea. In conclusion, it will be argued that while the barristers were not overly optimistic about the reforms introduced by the 2003 Act, they were also opposed to further reform to the substantive law and increased jury directions. Barristers argued that the law relating to rape should remain as simple as possible.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10991-011-9100-6
ISSN: 0144-932X
eISSN: 1572-8625
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2011, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Description: Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. The final published version may be available through the links above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Criminology

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