Prior to this law, the courts were following complex systems. The 2003 Act was aimed at supplanting these complex systems by establishing a new set of rules. Legislative reforms involve several lacunae, and the new Act is no exception2. It has been observed that the Criminal Justice Act 2003 lacks certainty in various aspects.
The chief drawback with this statute is the obscurity that plagues several of its more important principles. This Act states that evidence of reprehensible behaviour is bad character evidence, in the context of criminal proceedings. This definition has been criticised by several legal commentators, who contend that this definition is obscure and uncertain3.
The UK’s Parliament had initiated some changes to its criminal justice system. As part of this initiative, it enacted the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This Act was aimed at completely changing the systems established, in respect of criminal convictions4. It made vast and far reaching changes to the admissibility of prior convictions and bad behaviour, as evidence in criminal trials.
Before the enactment of the Act, the Courts were reluctant to admit evidence of a defendant’s previous convictions and reprehensible behaviour. This was beneficial to the criminal, whilst being prejudicial to the interests of the victim5. Consequently, Parliament made this legislation, in order to restore justice to the victims, while ensuring fair treatment of defendants.
This shift in policy had generated new problems, and there has been widespread criticism against the Act, by many legal scholars. They have contended that this Act reflected the intention of the government to systematically destroy the justice system in the country, in a step by step manner. These debates raise a number of questions, regarding the viability of this new Act, and whether it aims to drastically change the justice system6. Considerable apprehension has also been expressed, as to whether the Act