Judicial Reform of Alexander II - Improvement of The Criminal Trial

Improvement of The Criminal Trial

Before the reform, parties in the criminal trial did not have equal rights. The defendant had no legal counsel (legal assistance and legal representation were allowed in civil cases only). There was no distinction between trial in the court and both investigation and trial conducted by police. The judicial reform instituted the modern criminal trial based on the principle of equality of the parties. The defendant was allowed to have legal representation. The defence was now able to search for or provide evidence to the court, and the court itself ceased to perform investigative functions. Its only task was to decide which party presented more convincing evidence. Introduction of jury trial rapidly increased acquitals. The trial, in all courts except for the Senate, was now public.

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