CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, September 11, 2017

Woolley on The Prosecutor's Role

Alice Woolley (University of Calgary) has posted Reconceiving the Standard Conception of the Prosecutor's Role ((2017) Canadian Bar Review (Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The standard conception of the prosecutor’s role requires her to seek justice, to be a “minister of justice”, who ensures that an accused receives a fair trial on the merits. This paper challenges the standard conception of the prosecutor’s role. It argues that the seek justice ethic undermines judicial decision-making about prosecutorial duties and conduct. It has no evident meaning, is internally contradictory, and incorporates concepts of morality rather than legality, such that it cannot usefully explain a lawyer’s duties within a system of law. Fundamentally, it fails to describe the work that prosecutors actually do. The paper proposes a redefined standard conception that captures the dual roles that a prosecutor plays: deciding whether and how to pursue a criminal mater, and acting as an advocate in a criminal trial.

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