The Adversary System
Evaluate the effectiveness of the Adversary System as a means of achieving justice.
In Australia the Adversary System is used as a way of ensuring justice is achieved fairly, equally and easily accessed. This system was inherited from Britain and concerns two contrasting parties presenting their evidence before a neutral third party. This system of trial is successful in accomplishing several aspects of the legal system, such as protecting individual’s rights, meeting society’s needs and applying the rule of law. Conversely, the adversary system is also ineffective in regards to resource efficiency, accessibility and responsiveness. Nonetheless some of these aspects also cross over between strengths and limitations of achieving justice such as accessibility and protection of individual’s rights. The Adversary System practiced in Australia is based around the fundamental principle that two opposing sides, the defence and prosecution, have the right to choose which evidence they present to an impartial judge or magistrate. Both parties can also choose which witnesses to cross examine and their roles are to essentially persuade the court to find in favour of their client. In more serious cases a jury of random citizens is selected to hear evidence and reach a verdict, the judge then determines the sentencing using precedents as a guide. The aim of the adversary system is to achieve a fair and equal standard of justice, thus rigorous testing of evidence is conducted and verdicts are either left to jurors who are from the broad spectrum of society in criminal matters or a Judge in civil matters. This concept however can result in resource inefficiency as juries take time to hear evidence presented and to reach a verdict, they are therefore costly and one limitation to the adversary system. Resource inefficiency is highlighted in the case of R v Courtney whereby the state had to fund three trials, two juries and Courtney’s representation...
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