A survey of prosecution advocates

The charity Transform Justice (www.transformjustice.org.uk) in partnership with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), based in the School of Law at Birkbeck, University of London, is engaged in a research and policy project on unrepresented defendants in the criminal courts. 

The project aims to find out more about the experiences of unrepresented defendants, and about the implications for the courts and legal system of any increase in numbers of these defendants following reforms to legal aid. Findings will inform the development of recommendations aimed at ensuring that those entitled to legal aid receive it, and that any needs of unrepresented defendants, and difficulties faced by the courts and legal professionals in dealing with this group, can be better addressed.

As part of the project, we are conducting a short survey of prosecution advocates. We would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to answer the 10 questions in this survey on the basis of your professional experience. The survey is anonymous, unless you choose to provide your name and contact details for the purpose of taking part in a short follow-up interview. If a question is not relevant to your experience, do skip it.

If you have any problems completing the survey, please contact Penelope@transformjustice.org.uk

Thank you for your time. 


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1. Are you:

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2. Do you appear for the prosecution in:

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3. What do you think are the main reasons for defendants representing themselves at court (select more than one answer if appropriate)?

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4. What, if anything, do you think are the implications of a defendant's unrepresented status for the court process, e.g. in terms of:

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5. What, if anything, do you think are the implications of a defendant’s unrepresented status for court outcomes (e.g. bail decisions, verdicts in contested cases, sentences)?

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6. How do you adapt your advocacy when prosecuting an unrepresented defendant?

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7. In what ways, if any, do unrepresented defendants assist or hinder the administration of justice?

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8. Based on your experience, do you think that the proportions of hearings involving unrepresented defendants in magistrates' courts have changed over the past two years?

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9. Based on your experience, do you think that the proportions of hearings involving unrepresented defendants in Crown Court have changed over the past two years?

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10. Based on your experience, approximately what proportion of the following hearings involve unrepresented defendants (Please specify approximate %)?

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11. Would you be willing to take part in a brief telephone interview with a researcher from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck College, University of London, to follow up on questions addressed by the survey? If yes, please provide contact details below

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