The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law that relies on the contest between each advocate representing his or her party's positions and involves an impartial person or group of people, usually a jury or judge, trying to determine the truth of the case. As opposed to that, the inquisitorial system has a judge (or a group of judges who work together) whose task is to investigate the case.The adversarial system is generally adopted in common law countries. An exception, for instance in the U.S., may be made for minor violations, such as traffic offences. On the continent of Europe among some civil law systems the inquisitorial system may be used for some types of cases.The adversarial system is the two-sided structure under which criminal trial courts operate that pits the prosecution against the defense. Justice is done when the most effective adversary is able to convince the judge or jury that his or her perspective on the case is the correct one.
In many jurisdictions the approaches of each system are often formal differences in the way cases are reviewed. It is questionable that the results would be different if cases were conducted under the differing approaches; in fact no statistics exist that can show that these systems do not come to the same result. However, these approaches are often a matter of national pride and there are opinions amongst jurists about the merits of the differing approaches and their drawbacks as well. Proponents of the adversarial system often argue that the system is more fair and less prone to abuse than the inquisitional approach, because it allows less room for the state to be biased against the defendant. It also allows most private litigants to settle their disputes in an amicable manner through discovery and pre-trial settlements in which non-contested facts are agreed upon and not dealt with during the trial process. In addition, adversarial procedure defenders argue that the...
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