Adversarial system

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The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law countries.[1] It is a system where two advocates represent their parties' positions before an impartial person or group of people.[2] This is usually a jury or judge who attempt to determine the truth of the case.[3] It is in contrast to the inquisitorial system used in some civil law systems (i.e. those deriving from Roman law or the Napoleonic code). This is where a judge or group of judges opens an official inquiry and decides the case.[4]

The adversarial system is the two-part system under which criminal law courts operate.[5] On one side is the prosecution who usually represents the government. The other side is the defense who represents the defendant. Each party may call witnesses and ask questions.[5] Each party may present evidence based on legal ethics and that is approved by the court.[6] For example, legal ethics prevent a lawyer from calling a witness they know will lie on the witness stand.[6] Justice is served when the most effective adversary is able to convince the jury or judge that his or her case is the correct one.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. David S. Clark, Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2007), p. 321
  2. Rebecca Huxley-Binns, Unlocking the English Legal System, Fourth Edition (London; New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 164
  3. Tushar Kanti Saha, Textbook on Legal Methods, Legal Systems & Research (New Delhi, India: Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., 2010), p. 200
  4. Harry Dammer; Jay Albanese, Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Fifth Edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2014), p. 128
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 David Neubauer; Stephen Meinhold, Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States (Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013), p. 28
  6. 6.0 6.1 Randolph N. Jonakait, The American Jury System (New Haven CT: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 185