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Why a Jury Trial is More Like a Movie Than a Novel

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This essay is concerned to note the way in which successful trial advocacy seems to stem from the ability to convert legal discourse into a story form. These stories need to be ones with which a jury is familiar. These increasingly come from visual media, particularly film. It looks in detail at one trial where this process of relating a defence to the jury employed the structure of a Mafia film. The essay concludes by examining the reasons why the nature of the novel differs significantly from that of the film and how in the novel-to-film adaptation process a certain simplification is bound to occur.

Document Type: Original Article


Publication date: 2001-03-01

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