Definition of adversarial system
adversarial system (plural adversarial systems)
- (law) A system of law in which advocates represent the prosecution and the defence and an impartial person (judge) or people (jury) determine the truth of the matter
The adversarial system (or adversary system) is a legal system where two advocates represent their parties' positions before an impartial person or group of people, usually a jury or judge, who attempt 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 offenses. On the continent of Europe among some civil law systems (i.e. those deriving from Roman law or the Napoleonic Code), 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.
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- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
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