nIn contrast to the more “inquisitorial” style of trial developed under the Roman law tradition, the English common law developed an adversarial system of justice.
nThis refers to a system of administering justice in
which opposing parties contend
with one another to achieve a favorable
outcome. In this system, the role of the judge is one of neutral referee.
nBarristers would do battle in the courtroom, much as knights on horseback charging one another with lances. Indeed, the adversarial legal system has its roots in
the medieval joust. If the
barristers can be seen as knights, their
lances were their legal acumen and their rhetorical skills.
nToday, we carry on the common-law adversarial tradition, although there is much in the everyday working of the law that is more cooperative than combative.