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Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy x Jaar 2013 x Rubriek Artikel x
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Access_open On Presuming Innocence

Is Duff’s Civic Trust Principle in Line with Current Law, Particularly the European Convention on Human Rights?

Tijdschrift Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Aflevering 3 2013
Trefwoorden Presumption of innocence, Art. 6(2) ECHR, Duff’s civic trust
Auteurs Geert Knigge
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Duff sets out to present, not theoretical concepts, but ‘real’ principles that underlie positive law. This paper examines whether Duff’s analysis really reflects current law. To that end, this paper analyses the case law of the European Court on Human Rights. As far as his preposition that there are many presumptions of innocence is concerned, Duff seems to be right. In the case law of the European Court different presumptions can be discerned, with different rationales. However, these presumptions are a far cry from the trust principle Duff advocates. Indeed, a principle that prescribes trust cannot be found in the Court’s case law. There might be a unifying principle but if so this principle is about respect for human dignity rather than trust. This analysis serves as a basis for criticism. It is argued that the approach Duff proposes is in tension with the Court’s case law in several respects.


Geert Knigge
Geert Knigge is Advocate General of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen.

    This paper explores the roles that the presumption of innocence (PoI) can play beyond the criminal trial, in other dealings that citizens may have with the criminal law and its officials. It grounds the PoI in a wider notion of the civic trust that citizens owe each other, and that the state owes its citizens: by attending to the roles that citizens may find themselves playing in relation to the criminal law (such roles as suspect, defendant, convicted offender and ‘ex-offender’), we can see both how a PoI protects us, beyond the confines of the trial, against various kinds of coercion, and how that PoI is modified or qualified as we acquire certain roles. To develop and illustrate this argument, I pay particular attention to the roles of defendant (both during the trial and while awaiting trial) and of ‘ex-offender,’ and to the duties that such roles bring with them.


Antony Duff
Antony Duff holds the Russell M and Elizabeth M Bennett Chair in the University of Minnesota Law School, and is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling.
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