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Evidence, Proof and Justice

Legal Philosophy and the Provable in English Courts

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Langue:  English
This book uses legal philosophy to analyse the transformation of the rules of evidence in English courts.
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This book uses legal philosophy to analyse the transformation of the rules of evidence in English courts. Issues such as adverse inferences from silence, fundamental rights of defendants, double jeopardy, public interest immunity and expert evidence and mathematical proof are critically assessed with a view to showing that the proliferation of statutes on evidence in English courts, the wide discretionary powers vested in judges to admit all types of evidence raise serious issues of justice and ‘open impartiality’ as distinct from ‘close impartiality’. Suggestions for reform are proffered.

A lot has happened in the last decade on rationalising the congeries of rules of evidence applied in English courts. Scientific evidence is gradually replacing evidence based on the principle of orality or spontaneity. And yet, judges are not scientifically trained. There is a convergence of the English adversarial system, especially in criminal proceedings, with the Continental inquisitorial system; and, what is more, the proliferation of statutes on the law of evidence and the wide discretionary powers vested in judges to admit all types of evidence raise serious issues of justice and ‘open impartiality’ as distinct from ‘close impartiality’.

It is the object of this book to use legal philosophy to analyse the transformation of the rules of evidence in English courts with a view to teasing out the benefits and portents of the transformation and proffering suggestions for reform.

I seize this opportunity to thank Ms Karin Hamilton Jakobsen and the editorial staff of Ventus Publishing, Denmark, for their cooperation. Many thanks to Ms Sue Wiseman for using her immense word-processing skills to type the manuscript within a short space of time.

The book is dedicated to Diane.

Solomon E. Salako

United Kingdom.
July 2010.

  1. Introduction
    1. Demosthenes, Cicero and the rationalist tradition
    2. Theories of evidence
    3. Legal philosophy and the rationalist tradition
    4. Guide to readers
  2. The presumption of innocence and adverse inferences from silence
    1. Introduction
    2. The presumption of innocence: the marcescent Woolmington principle
    3. Adverse inferences from silence
    4. European Convention Jurisprudence and Commonwealth Paradigms Re-Examined
  3. Protecting vulnerable witnesses: summum ius summa iniuria
    1. Introduction
    2. The principle of orality
    3. False-memory
    4. Sexual History Evidence or the slagging-off of the complainant in rape cases
    5. Special Measures and Judicial Discretion
    6. Summary and Conclusion
  4. Double jeopardy and similar fact evidence
    1. Introduction
    2. The extent to which double jeopardy protects an accused from further proceedings based on same factual situation
    3. The impact of the CJA 2003 on the Principle of Double Jeopardy and Similar Fact Rule
    4. Double Jeopardy and Reopening of Final Acquittals
    5. Summary and Conclusion
  5. Identification evidence: old problems, new solutions
    1. Introduction
    2. Causes Célèbres and the Turner rule
    3. Failure of courts to prescribe rigorous rules for scrutinizing scientific opinion evidence
    4. Conclusion
  6. Public interest immunity, privilege and liberty rights: Hohfeld’s analysis re-examined
    1. Introduction
    2. Theories of unimpeded access to justice
    3. Conclusion
  7. Expert evidence and mathematical proof
    1. Introduction
    2. The Pascal/Bayes School of Probability and Uncertainty
    3. The Bacon/Mill/Cohen School of Inductive Probability
    4. The Shafer/Dempster School of Non-additive Beliefs
  8. The Scandinavian School of Evidentiary Value
  9. Conclusion
  10. Epilogue: the future
    1. What is wrong with the English adversarial system of justice?
    2. Free proof and the adversarial system of justice: the final words
  11. List of Abbreviations
  12. Endnotes
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A propos de l'auteur

Prof. Solomon Salako

Professor Solomon E. Salako, LL.B. (London), LL.M. (London), M.Phil. (London), A.C.I.S., Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has taught law at Olabisi Onabanjo University (formerly Ogun State University (Nigeria)), Leeds Metropolitan University and Liverpool John Moores University (United Kingdom). He is currently Professorial Fellow in The School of Law and The Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies at Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom. His research interests are in Criminal Law, Evidence, Philosophy, Legal Theory, Human Rights, International Biomedical Law and Ethics,  International Law and International Relations. He is the author of Evidence, 2009, available at and Evidence, Proof and Justice: Legal Philosophy and the Provable in English Courts, Ventus Publishing, Denmark, 2010; available at and numerous books and articles on medical law and ethics,human rights and international law and international relations. His best known recent publications include “The Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine: A new look at international biomedical law and ethics” (2008) 27 Medicine and Law 339-356, “The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights: Protecting Future Generations and the Quest for a Global Consensus” (2008) 27 Medicine and Law 805-823, “Research Ethics Committees and Community Values: Devlin, Dworkin, Hart and Beyond” (2010) 29 Medicine and Law  37-50, “Informed Consent under the European Convention on Biomedicine and the Universal Declaration on Bioethics” (2011) 30 Medicine and Law 101-113, “Agrobiotechnology, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Traditional Knowledge” (2012) 20 (2) African Journal of International and Comparative Law 318-332 , “Civil Wars and the Right to Self-Determination”, International Law Research, Vol. 2, no. 1, 2013: 129-144," Forcible  Protection of Nationals Abroad and Humanitarian Intervention : Might or Right ?" ,International Law Research,Vol.5,No.1,2016: 152-167," Climate Change,Environmental Security and Global Justice",International Law Research,Vol.6,No.1,2017:119-131 and "Entitlement to      Islands,Rocks and Low-Tide Elevations in the South China Sea : Geoeconomics versus Rule of Law",       International Law Research,Vol.7,No.1,2018:247-259.    


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