Our paper surveys the development of criminal hybrid models in two continental jurisdictions, Italy and France, following the 1987 Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to accelerate criminal proceedings through the introduction of guilty pleas, out-of-court settlements and simplified proceedings. We describe various frameworks for criminal justice as a multi-door arena, of which the plea bargaining is but one of several possibilities. In our review, we emphasize consensual elements, the place of the search of truth, and the role of the judges and other stakeholders. We outline the different paths that France and Italy have taken as incorporating adversarial and inquisitorial elements to increase efficiency. The French system made gradual modifications and remained inquisitorial by nature. Aside from the more recent integration of proceedings without trial inspired by plea bargaining, it has developed doors of abbreviated trials where the investigation stage is minimized. This has resulted in a different version of the vanishing trial—the vanishing investigation. The Italian system, on the other hand, has announced a drastic transformation to an adversarial framework of trial, while adopting mainly proceedings without trial. This shift has not resulted in a vanishing trial phenomenon, and currently, the full adversarial-type trial remains the main door in Italy. We describe the sequence of transformations of these systems and emphasize the significance of this contemporary patchwork of doors in terms of the role of the judges and the possibility of implementing a conflict resolution criminal justice perspective.

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