The Adversary System Of Trial

Essay by enforcer2envyB, November 2006

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The adversary system of trial is a system used in Australia. Adversary is another word for enemy or opponent and thus proceedings appear to be conducted following this idea. There is another alternative system such as the inquisitorial system which will be discussed further on.

The Adversarial system of trial has both negative and positive aspects where it proves to be both an effective or negative system to be followed. The basic feature of the adversary system is that there are two opposing parties, a "plaintiff" who claims that a wrong has been done, and a "defendant" who denies it. Criminal and civil court proceedings use an adversarial system of trial. The impartial person (usually a judge) merely listens to the two competing viewpoints. The jury listens to the evidence presented and then must decide if the accused is guilty of the offence. The aim of the adversary system of trial is to achieve justice although sometimes it doesn't.

One feature of the adversary system of trial is that there is a continuous contest, where possible. Other features include: the independence of the judge and jury, the conduct of the contest according to strict legal rules and the finality of the judge's decision unless subject to appeal and the presumption that all are equal before the court. There are also problems with the adversary system of trial where it may be seen as ineffective. Firstly, there are delays in cases coming to court and also there are postponements of cases. The enormous cost to the state of such a system is also an aspect criticized, the increasing costs faced by the accused in defending their innocence, the discrimination that exists within the system (which may be seen to favour the wealthy), the criticism that it really does not search for...