Full text available to University of Leicester members via Westlaw.This paper will briefly present the findings of an empirical research project that examined mode of trial decisions in two English magistrates' courts. 1 Recent reforms of the mode of trial process have attempted to restrict the extent to which cases are committed to Crown Court for trial. Debates at the time of these reforms suggested that these measures were somewhat misplaced; in particular, the problematic outcomes of the mode of trial process could be best explained by problems found elsewhere within the criminal justice process. The findings of this study question the extent to which the outcome preferred by policymakers can actually be achieved through reform of the mode of trial decision making process. The process operates in situ in a manner that suggests policy initiatives may have limited impact on the ground
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