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Title: Prosecuting fraud in the metropolis, 1760-1820
Author: Griffiths, C. C.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The inspiration for this thesis comes from a recognition of the problems in prosecuting financial crime in the modern day. In exploring how fraud was prosecuted from 1760 to 1820, this thesis seeks to contextualise modern prosecutorial failings into a longer history of the struggles to define and address fraud and deceptive practices. It also seeks to contribute to existing research into historical financial crime by providing a detailed history of fraud offences and the settings in which these offences had been previously enforced. This thesis will answer three central questions: what offences made up ‘fraud’ by the early nineteenth century? – Who was prosecuting these offences? – and, how was fraud being prosecuted at this time? The first of these questions seeks, for the first time in the literature, to identify and trace fraud offences to the nineteenth century. This thesis will then identify who was prosecuting fraud, and then how they prosecuted fraud in order to explain how fraud offences were shaped through enforcement and how this impacted upon the development of fraud offences. In asking these three central questions, this thesis will provide a lens through which to explain how, and for whom, the criminal justice system operated in the eighteenth century. This thesis explores and categorises all fraud trials heard at the Old Bailey between 1760 and 1820 and builds on these records by using a range of greater and lesser known sources including City of London officials’ notes, government financial records, and more obscure materials of contemporary practitioners. By tracing the prosecution of fraud from the lowest to the highest criminal courts in London, this thesis provides an holistic overview of the choices available to prosecutors of fraud, and explains why so many fraud trials were heard within the senior courts rather than the summary courts. This explanation is made possible by the application of structuralist theories which explain why particular social and economic groups prosecuted fraud offences at such a high level, and how the criminal justice system operated to assist such prosecutions.
Supervisor: Godfrey, B. ; Shoemaker, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral