Chapter

Law

Alvin I. Goldman

in Knowledge in a Social World

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238201
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597527 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198238207.003.0009
 Law

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The fundamental aim of legal adjudication is to render substantive justice, but this requires true judgements to be made about material (nonlegal) facts. What institutional provisions for the disposition of evidence and the rendering of judgements will generate the highest ratio of true judgements? The chapter compares the civil‐law system of the Continent with the Anglo‐American adversarial system, pinpointing several aspects of the adversarial system that pose substantial risks of distorting the truth. For example, adversarial control of proceedings implies that lawyers in cross‐examination can make opposing witnesses appear unreliable or untrustworthy even when they are not, thereby leading the jury in the direction of error. If neutral judges conduct witness interrogation, as they do in the civil‐law system, this potential distortion is avoided.

Keywords: adjudication; cross‐examination; evidence; justice; law

Chapter.  21476 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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