The Adversarial System Essay

2229 Words 9 Pages

In the discussion which follows, the function served by ‘evidence’ within the adversarial system will be considered. The central importance of relevance to the admissibility of evidence will be linked to the purpose served by the tribunal of fact. The range of factors which impact on the criminal justice system will act as a basis to consider the justification for the exclusion of certain evidential material. Developments in attitudes as a result of recent legislation will lead the discussion to the conclusion that the above statement is not sustainable

Setting the scene


The adversarial system involves competing versions of disputed events being advanced by parties to the litigation. The purpose of
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Observers have noted in recent years a shift in government policy toward what is perceived as ‘redressing the balance’ in criminal justice, to be more advantageous to victims and less so to the accused. (have implications for current exclusionary rules)

Nature of evidence.

May and Powles view evidence as ‘something’ which tends to prove or disprove something else. In the context of a trial this consists of information placed before the court for the purpose of proving or disproving facts in issue. Beecher-Monas states that in a system based on the rule of law and which aspires to ‘truth’, the accuracy and reliability of such information is essential. The mechanisms available to the court to determine the latter, centre on the presentation of evidence under oath, cross-examination and the observation of witness demeanour . The development of specific rules of evidence from the 18th. century onwards were much influenced by the jury system of trial. Concerns with the ability of lay juries to evaluate and assimilate various data led to safeguards being introduced The perceived need within the current adversarial system for such “rules” has, as
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