The Adversarial System

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Introduction 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 Purpose. The adversarial system involves competing versions of disputed events being advanced by parties to the litigation. The purpose of this ‘battle’ is much debated in the academic literature. Certain commentators emphasise the ‘truth seeking’ theory of adjudication and the belief that justice absolutely depends on it. Whilst the nature of ‘truth’ in itself may be contested, it is accepted, for the purpose of this discussion, that it is the central goal of the adversarial system. Murphy draws attention to” other legitimate concurrent goals” in the context of the judicial trial which include the upholding of ‘fairness’ the exclusion of evidence which may be ‘inherently suspect/unreliable’ or ‘prejudicial’. The role of evidence in the accurate reconstruction of past events and what restraints, if any, should be in place will be explored. Fairness. The adversarial system involves the State pitted against the individual defendant. There is little doubt that a significant disparity exists between the combatants. Stockdale and Casel claim that many of the basic rights extended to the defendant are attempts to compensate for ... ... middle of paper ... ...istopher Allen. Practical Guide to Evidence.4th.ed (2008) Routledge Cavendish. Jonathan Doak & Claire McGourlay. Criminal Evidence in Context.2nd.ed (2009) Routledge-Cavendish. Raymond Emson. Evidence. 4th.ed. (2008) Palgrave Macmillan Andrew L.Choo. Evidence 2nd.ed. (2009). Oxford University Press. J R Spencer. Hearsay Evidence in Criminal Proceedings. (2008) Hart Publishing. Adrian Keane. The Modern Law Of Evidence.6th.ed (2006) Oxford University Press Maureen & John Spencer. Evidence. Concentrate. (2010) Oxford University Press Tobias Thienel. The Admissibility of Evidence Obtained by Torture under International Law. (2006) The European Journal of International Law. Vol 17. No.2 Robert Munday. Evidence. Core Text Series. (2009) 5th.ed Oxford University Press Colin Tapper. Cross & Tapper on Evidence.(2010) 12th.ed Oxford University Press

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