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Paper Topic:

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Adversarial Criminal trial?

Adversarial Criminal Trial

What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Adversarial Criminal Trial




The Criminal Procedure recognizes that there are always three sides in every legal controversy . The first side pertains to the truth according to the injured party where he attempts to prove that his side is the truth and that the accused is responsible for his injury . The second side is the truth according to the accused where he attempts to establish his innocence . The third will be the absolute truth which is

theoretically the same as that of the findings of the court after both sides have been heard

It is because of this reason that there are currently two main systems in the world that have for their purpose the determination of the absolute truth in a controversy involving the commission of a criminal offense - the adversarial system and the inquisitorial system . Both systems aim to ensure that justice is served not only to one of the litigants but to both of them . It seeks to avoid the act of one party placing the law in his own hands and seeking for retribution as a result the offense committed against him by the other party

The basic principle underlying the two legal systems is that when a crime is committed it is being done against the state or against the community of people . It is not merely the injury caused to one litigant by the commission of the crime but the violation of the peace and harmony within the state that matters the most . As a result , in a criminal investigation , the injured party merely serves as one of the witnesses . It is the state which is the injured party in the suit Further , both legal systems aim to ensure that no party is given undue advantage . It seeks to balance the interests of the disputing parties and the interests of the society as a whole

Adversarial System versus Inquisitorial System

Theoretically there is no longer any system in this world that is purely adversarial or purely inquisitorial . These legal systems have already evolved in an effort by the countries to improve their own criminal justice system . But for purposes of academic discussion there are several known distinctions between the two legal systems

The Adversarial System which is the method used in the United States presumes that the truth can only be found if the litigants , the prosecution and the defense , are in competition with each other . This system sees the court as a battlefield with either party seeking to be a victor . The prosecution aims to prove that the accused is guilty of the crime charged . They present documentary evidence and the eyewitnesses to prove that their claim is the truth . They also advance arguments and interpret laws in accordance with their interest . On the other hand the accused does not have to prove anything at the initial stage of the trial because he has a constitutional presumption of innocence


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