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Durham e-Theses
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The Concept of Equality of Arms in Criminal Proceedings under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights

SIDHU, OMKAR (2011) The Concept of Equality of Arms in Criminal Proceedings under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 05 March 2023.


Inherent in and at the core of the right to fair trial in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights is the concept of equality of arms, the construct to which this thesis is devoted within the context of criminal proceedings. As a contextual prelude to specific analysis of this concept, a background for Article 6 is first established which identifies influential historical developments in trial rights and provides an outline of the rationale for the Convention and of the content, and applicability, of the article. Thereafter, the thesis offers a theoretical insight on equality of arms, identifying and exploring its value, contemporary international legal basis and constituent elements as per the Strasbourg definition. The insight on the latter recognises an underpinning relationship between the concept of equality of arms and Article 6(3), and introduces the key argument in the thesis: the European Court of Human Rights equates inequality of arms not with procedural inequality in itself, which would be a dignitarian interpretation, but with procedural inequality that gives rise to actual or, in some circumstances, inevitable prejudice. This argument predominates the subsequent survey of case-law in which the Court’s approach to procedural equality is demonstrated and assessed within the context of the right to challenge and call witness evidence (Article 6(3)(d)), the right to adequate time and facilities (Article 6(3)(b)) and the right to legal assistance (Article 6(3)(c)). Though the thesis is based on Article 6 decisions of the Court and, to a lesser extent, the former European Commission of Human Rights, references are made throughout to other national and international legal instruments and judgements whenever instructive.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Jun 2011 14:21

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