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Copyright (c) 2002 The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Law Review

ARTICLE: THE ADVERSARY SYSTEM AS A MEANS OF SEEKING TRUTH AND JUSTICE

Winter, 2002

35 J. Marshall L. Rev. 147

Author

Dean Robert Gilbert Johnston* Sara Lufrano**

Excerpt

Introduction
 
Litigation accomplishes the purpose of truth seeking by employing the adversary system. 3 The adversary system is based on the assumption that the truth of a controversy will best be arrived at by granting the competing parties, with the help of an advocate, an opportunity to fight as hard as possible. 4 Few systems rely more on the self-interests of the participants. 5 The system operates on the assumption that the self-interests of the combatants will clash so as to hone the issues in such a way as to find the truth, and thus, reach a just result. 6

The adversary system has been compared to the Church's canonization of Saints. 7 In the canonization process, a "devil's advocate" is appointed with the designated purpose of compiling all the reasons to oppose canonizing the person in question. 8 The underlying theory behind the procedure is that the truth is best served by placing the responsibility on the parties themselves to formulate their case and destroy the case of their adversary. 9 This rationale is identical to that of the adversary system.

There are at least three sides to every dispute. The adversaries introduce facts that each thinks are relevant and material. Each set of facts comprises one side of the dispute. The third side to the dispute consists of the sum of those facts. Because the sum of the facts is not always relevant and material, the adversary system regulates the conduct of each participant's attorney and ...
 
 
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