Document Type


Publication Title

Emory Law Journal

Publication Date

Spring 1992


In its simplest terms, an adversary system is one in which disputes are resolved by having the parties present their conflicting views of fact and law before an impartial and relatively passive judge and/or jury, who decides which, side wins what. In the United States, however, the phrase "adversary system" is synonymous with the American system for the administration of justice, as that system has been incorporated into the Constitution and elaborated by the Supreme Court for two centuries. Thus, the adversary system represents far more than a simple model for resolving disputes. Rather, it consists of a core of basic rights that recognize and protect the dignity of the individual in a free society. The rights that comprise the adversary system include personal autonomy, the effective assistance of counsel, equal protection of the laws, trial by jury, the rights to call and to confront witnesses, and the right to require the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and without the use of compelled self-incrimination.



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