Right to fair trial. Impacts of new technology and contemporary space of justice on the process and administration of justice.

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


This thesis addresses how new technology and contemporary space of justice affect the right for a fair trial. With this in mid, I look at the intersections between law and philosophy, architecture and psychoanalysis. It sheds light on many cultural expressions, which are fundamental to our understanding of the law in society. Here legal science must take in consideration how new technologies, but also contemporary architecture of places of justice, together with the symbols (or their absence), and the ceremonial surrounding the law (or their absence) are themselves capital for a proper grasp of legal behaviours and customs.

That is, a theory to study the cultural symbolism attached to the legal world is in many ways important for legal philosophy in contemporary times. It gives depth to the world where attorneys plea, where magistrates write judgements, and where criminals get their sentences. The representational settings attached to the architecture of courthouses, for instance, permit us to better understand such events, which is an important contribution of this thesis. The impacts of new technology on specific rights attached to trial is also at stake. The law, conversely, is engaged in an effort of civilization. Humanity struggles with humankind, hence the necessary protection of human rights. In a way, the law is a sacrifice, both collectively and individually. It rules out certain behaviours, such that we may have civilization and a peaceful social life, secured by a stable social and political order. The cultural setting of the law, however, influences how it is then used in a courthouse, according to specific period of time, and the use of new technology as prolongation of these spaces of justice, as explains in this thesis. We may see how the law inserts itself in the legal symbolic of our contemporary societies. Because there have been numerous cultural shifts, for example in the architecture of courthouses or the use of new technology, the law has also been accompanied by many different ceremonials. The law, in a way, is constantly changing, adapting to our modern culture, and perhaps, now, to a postmodern culture. Hence, applying the law is exercising a power, which is intimately tied to a given cultural context and a given symbolic order. It is common in psycho-legal theories today to understand that the unconscious is “structured as a language”, which we may access in the form of linguistic signifiers and cultural symbols. Such a viewpoint offers us an original way to approach the law, one with which most practitioners will not be familiar. It is nonetheless fundamental to what we may call the execution of the law. The creation of new narratives too often overcomes critical scrutiny and reflection. This is indeed an abuse of the concept of transparency, a new opacity which is studied further, together with the specific case of Spain and new technology. What do we mean when we invoke the idea of transparency? And what can it mean for the law or for the administration of justice? One will find in this thesis an analysis of many interesting questions like these, which will give a new meaning to what Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter once said – “Justice must satisfy the appearance of justice.
Date of Award25 Oct 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJose Carlos Remotti Carbonell (Director) & Jose Carlos Remotti Carbonell (Tutor)

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