On the Administration of the Criminal Code in England, and Spirit of the English Government
Cottu, [Charles]. On the Administration of the Criminal Code, in England, and the Spirit of the English Government. Translated Exclusively for the Pamphleteer. London: Pam[phleteer], Volume XVI, Number 31, 1820. 152 pp. [With] "M. Cottu, Criminal Law of England," Quarterly Review 1820. 18 pp. Reprint available September 2004 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2003044228. ISBN 1-58477-383-9. Cloth. $90. * Reprint of the first English edition. Cottu [1777?-?] was a counsellor of the Royal Court of Paris and Secretary-General to the Royal Society of Prisons. In 1820 he was sent by his government to observe the English criminal courts. He returned with a vivid description of a system that had changed little since the days of Coke and Pulton. As Langbein describes it, "the whole of the criminal trial was expected to transpire as a lawyer-free contest of amateurs. In cases of felony..., the prosecution was also not represented by counsel. The victim of the crime commonly served as the prosecutor. (In homicide cases, either the victim's kin prosecuted, or the local coroner stood in.) Just as Blackstone summarized the common law on the cusp of its transformation by modern capitalism, Cottu described a system of criminal procedure that was about to be transformed into the system we recognize today. This work was originally published in the periodical The Pamphleteer. It was reissued as a book in 1822 with the title, On the Administration of Criminal Justice in England. Langbein, The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial 11. (Cottu is noted as one of Langbein's primary sources.) Appended to this work is an 18 p. contemporaneous article reviewing the French edition.
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