More on the cost of justiceTwo years ago, Lord Thomas, the lord chief justice of the UK, suggested that inquisitorial proceedings might save money for a judicial system under great pressure to cut expenses.
Mexico and Russia use inquisitorial systems. Do you know the difference between them and adversarial systems?
Inquisitorial system may be better for family and civil cases, says top judge
A judge-led, inquisitorial system of justice may be a better way of conducting family and civil cases where litigants are unrepresented, the lord chief justice has suggested.
In a challenge to centuries of British legal tradition based on adversarial hearings, Lord Thomas has called for a radical rethink of the way justice is delivered in an era of austerity…
Reductions in legal aid have already resulted in a "significant increase" in the number of unrepresented litigants in person in family and civil cases. Thomas said: "Traditional procedures are not best suited to a dispute between a father and mother over a child when inevitably matters that have caused emotional stress are raised by them in court as adversaries in person rather than being raised by lawyers acting for them."
An inquisitorial system might be an improvement for litigants in person and "secure a fair trial for all whilst doing so within limited and reducing resources," he said. "The essence of the change would be a much greater degree of inquiry by the judge into the evidence being brought forward."
Some lawyers, he admitted, would see it as a "process alien to our adversarial tradition". Research would have to consider whether an inquisitorial procedure would require more judges or a "new cadre of junior judges"…
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