Protection against retrials for the same criminal offence is a fundamental principle of criminal justice and procedure in legal systems concerned with securing due process of law. The ancient common law prohibition on multiple trials, known as the double jeopardy principle, is a legal concept that is well known throughout the common law world. This salutary principle has constitutional status and finds expression in numerous human rights treaties. The article evaluates the prohibition on double jeopardy (including the recent statutory modification) and considers whether the protection is primarily a procedural right for the protection of the accused or a procedural rule to protect the institutional integrity of criminal justice process and judicial outcomes.
This article by Dr Ger Coffey is forthcoming in (2016) 26(3) Irish Criminal Law Journal, 66-76.