Equity in Criminal Law

19 Sep

A common early question in a student’s Equity studies is ‘So, Mr Richard, does Equity have anything to do with Criminal Law ?’ My standard answer is, ‘No, not so. Equity involves broad discretions for the Court, which are inappropriate where (as in Criminal Law) the liberty of the subject is at stake.’

However, this is not in the USA seen as so obvious – or so you might conclude from Prof (Howard) Brill’s recent article on SSRN. Originally dated 2000, the issue is still topical. The rules cited certainly tend to steer Equity away from Crime, but there clearly is not seen as being an a priori absolute ban. (Prof Brill’s interest is in Arkansas)

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