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Common Law and Common Sense: Juries, Justice and the Challenge of Ethnic Plurality

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Chapter Summary

In Common Law systems, juries fulfil a crucial role as assessors of the evidence presented by the contending parties to legal proceedings, and consequently act as finders of fact. A vision of 'common sense' has always been an integral feature of the English tradition of Common Law. During the course of the past eight centuries the English tradition of common law has undergone all manner of transformations. Although ethnic plurality is in no sense a novel phenomenon in either English or British contexts, its current salience may well be unprecedented. Whilst globalisation is shrinking the significance of distance, it is by no means undermining the plural character of the world in which we live. In historical terms successive inflows of immigrants from elsewhere in Western Europe have regularly introduced additional layers of plurality into Britain's established social order.

Keywords: common law; English tradition; ethnic plurality; globalisation; immigrants; juries



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