Definition of trial
From Anglo-Norman trial from the verb trier < Old French trier (“to pick out, cull”) < Gallo-Romance *triare, of unknown origin.
trial (plural trials)
- an opportunity to test something out; a test.
They will perform the trials for the new equipment next week.
- appearance at judicial court.
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information (in the form of evidence) in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court. The tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.
Types of trial divided by the finder of fact
- Where the trial is held before a group of members of the community, it is called a jury trial. Where the trial is held solely before a judge, it is called a bench trial.
Bench trials are often resolved faster. Furthermore, a favorable ruling for one party in a bench trial will frequently lead the other party to offer a settlement.
Hearings before administrative bodies may have many of the features of a trial before a court, but are typically not referred to as trials.
An appellate proceeding is also generally not deemed a trial, because such proceedings are usually restricted to review of the evidence presented before the trial court, and do not permit the introduction of new evidence.
Types of trial divided by the type of dispute
Trials can also be divided by the type of dispute at issue.
A criminal trial is designed to resolve accusations brought (usually by a government) against a person accused of a crime. In common law systems, most criminal defendants are entitled to a trial held before a jury. Because the state is attempting to use its power to deprive the accused of life, liberty, or property, the rights of the accused afforded to criminal defendants are typically broad. The rules of criminal procedure provide rules for criminal trials.
A civil trial is generally held to settle lawsuits or civil claims - non-criminal disputes. In some countries, the government can both sue and be sued in a civil capacity. The rules of civil procedure provide rules for civil trials.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.