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By Thomas Scheffer

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Extra resources for Adversarial Case-Making: An Ethnography of English Crown Court Procedure

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The researcher may get a glimpse of this hidden work in the problems raised by the client during the confidential talks with his lawyer. From just the files, one can only speculate on what it means for the client to have and to be a case: Shortly before trials one can witness the tension rising even amongst the professionals: a tighter schedule, an increasing assiduity, an escalating busyness, a higher rate of correspondence, of meetings and telephone consultations. Work becomes breathless before the ‘day of reckoning’.

In court, the statement requires a human voice: somebody speaking up right in front of the jury. I traced the career of this statement through the case-file and related encounters. Every reference triggered new entries in the data-sheet. The sheet, in this sense, gathered all traces left by casework. ” Towards the systematics of case-making Tracing case-making does not lead to singularised stories. As in the example above, the “recruitment of witnesses” in one case can generate hypotheses for other case studies.

She noted that “interactionist detail cannot provide a total explanation of the processes of conviction. In the first place, it understates the structural influences of the legal system’s rules, checks, and definitions on the construction of reality. In the second place, it underplays how much the events and information observed in court have been shaped long before the stage of public trial is reached” (175). For studies of legal preparation see also Sarat and Felstiner (1995), Konradi (1997) and Travers (1997).

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