urts have unlimited resources at their disposal to build a case against a defendant or respondent, whereas a respondent has only their own resources to rely upon. In some cases the opponents in a case are allowed the opportunity to present their case to a jury. In other instances the opposing parties must rely on a judge only to decide the truthfulness of each side.
To understand the adversarial system of justice, one must notice the distinctions between the types of judicial systems in practice today. “Let us start with the classical distinction between adversarial and inquisitorial systems of criminal justice. The usual way of describing the former is as a contest between two equal parties, seeking to resolve a dispute before a passive and impartial judge, with a jury (the people) pronouncing one version of events to be the truth.” (Fennell, Harding, Jorg & Swart, 1995). Where there are two parties interested in the truthfulness of an issue, fairness may be compromised when the interests of either party are at stake. The adversarial process incorporates just that. “But this places inordinate faith in the notion that partisan manipulation of evidentiary materials, even under equality of arms, can put an independent judge in a position to determine truth--an assumption at best unproven, and at worst highly implausible. Add to this anxieties about the capacity of procedural rules to ensure equality of the parties, and the relationship between procedural fairness, truth, and legitimacy becomes more difficult.” (Fennell, Harding, Jorg & Swart, 1995).
In English criminal courts of first instance, the Justice of the Peace or Stipendiary Magistrate decide cases without a jury. “The chief function of these officials is to try relatively minor criminal offenses, although they do have jurisdiction in certain domestic relations -- matrimonial, bastardy, and rate cases, and a few administrative functions -- and, as indicated, determine whether there is sufficient ...