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Title: A qualitative study of social interaction in a magistrates' court
Author: Read, Gordon
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis has explored the court from a dramaturgical perspective and has focused on the structure and procedural organisation, the power and influence indices and the individual and group roles and interactions, their aims and their conflicts. The study has entailed the use of participant and non-participant observation but in particular a series of in-depth interviews. These involved magistrates, both lay and professional, Justices' Clerks, court clerks and a court usher, probation officers and advocates, both prosecution and defence. A certain amount of 'privileged' information has also been utilised during the research where this was considered to be both appropriate and ethical. An unusual aspect of the study is that the researcher is also a magistrate, with a considerable number of years experience on the Bench, who made the decision to carry out the main body of his research in the courts where he adjudicated. It was recognised that he could be seen by the participants in the setting, not as an outsider carrying out a programme of research, but as an insider attempting to negotiate the dual roles of insider-magistrate and outsider-researcher. It is, therefore, not only a study of the procedures and the participants within the magistrates' courts but also the researcher's own conflicts and the methodology employed in trying to keep the two roles separate in order to carry out an objective piece of research. The research findings suggest that there is considerable evidence to support the view that courtroom interaction, the organisation and the procedures often fall short of the abstract ideals of justice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available