Authors: Christina Lienen
The privilege against self-incrimination has been recognised and cherished as a fundamental right around the common law world. Operating at the intersection between the criminal process and human rights, its original purpose was to ensure an orderly, fair trial and to protect the privacy of the individuals under investigation. Today, while the privilege’s rationale and necessity need to be questioned, the way in which the UK courts have gone about abrogating it through a somewhat distorted exercise of the principle of legality is problematic as it undermines the constitutional role of the courts and potentially jeopardizes other more important human rights in future cases.
Keywords: Privilege against self-incrimination, human rights, criminal law, criminal procedure, common law, judicial reasoning