The expansion and fragmentation of minor offense justice

A convergence between the common law and the civil law

Dat T. Bui*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article claims that minor offense processes in the common law and the civil law, as examined through two prototypical exemplars of England and Vietnam, have been converging at a more rapid pace and in a reverse trend compared to the convergence in the mainstream, serious crime processes. Because of the notion of nonseriousness, a natural convergence between the two systems in minor offenses is more obvious and less challenging than the convergence in the process for serious crimes. It is commonplace that the goals of regulation, prevention, and efficiency have predominated over the ideal of adversarialism, even in an adversarial system like England's. This natural convergence is accompanied by a due-process-evading justice, in which criminal fair trial rights could be disproportionately limited by ideas of triviality and the so-called noncriminal character. The article also suggests a convergence in the jurisprudential framework as minor offense justice reflects limitations on fair trial rights in dealing with less serious public wrongs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-411
Number of pages30
JournalNew Criminal Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Convergence
  • Fair trial rights
  • Minor offenses
  • Summary justice

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