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The Disappearing Trial

Course video 33 of 39

Criminal liability means that crimes have prices, and how these prices are exacted in practice from people who take rights without compensation is the problem of criminal procedure. How do judges know who is guilty, and what prices guilty people should be made to pay for their crimes? Around the world, two major systems of adjudicating guilt and punishment, the adversarial and the inquisitorial, have evolved over centuries to answer these questions in individual cases, with very different procedures to assess guilt and punishment that express different commitments to truth and fairness. All these procedures are expensive, and governments everywhere must confront the problem of processing large caseloads with limited resources. This has led the inquisitorial systems of Europe and the adversarial systems of England and the United States to new procedures of adjudication that may be reducing the differences between them.

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