Inquisitorial System

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction 

The inquisitorial system is a legal system used in many countries, particularly in Europe and Latin America, where the judge plays a more active role in investigating a case.

In an inquisitorial system, the judge is responsible for conducting the investigation and gathering evidence rather than relying solely on the lawyers for each side to present their own evidence.

In an inquisitorial system, the judge may question witnesses directly and order the production of evidence. The judge is also responsible for determining the guilt or innocence of the accused based on the evidence gathered during the investigation. In contrast, in an adversarial system, such as the one used in the United States, the lawyers for each side are primarily responsible for presenting evidence, and the judge’s role is more limited.

Proponents of the inquisitorial system argue that it can lead to a more thorough and impartial investigation, as the judge is not dependent on the lawyers to present evidence. However, critics argue that the system can be less transparent, as much of the evidence-gathering occurs behind closed doors. It may give too much power to the judge, who may be biased or subject to political pressure.


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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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