As the firm approaches its 20th anniversary, Partner David Corker looks back at the evolution of the criminal law over the past two decades and predicts what the future may hold for criminal trials in fivehundred magazine.
How has the criminal law of England and Wales evolved during the last 20 years? It is an especially pertinent question for me as the firm that I helped to found, Corker Binning, opened for business in October 2000. Coincidentally the same day as the Human Rights Act 1998 was implemented. This event was considered then by many as a legal watershed; that making the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights admissible in all UK legal proceedings would effect sweeping change to especially the common law by “bringing rights home”. Hindsight, however, has refuted such heady expectations. Insofar as our criminal law is concerned it is insignificant. I would not include it in a pantheon of legal milestones of the last twenty years.