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In
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information (in the form of
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evid ...
) in a
tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, an advocate who appears before a court with a single ...
, a formal setting with the
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of Interpersonal ties, social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It use ...
to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil law (common law), civil, C ...
. The tribunal, which may occur before a
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
,
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty o ...
, or other designated
trier of fact A trier of fact or finder of fact is a person or group who determines which Question of fact, facts are available in a legal proceeding (usually a trial) and how relevant they are to deciding its outcome. To determine a fact is to decide, from th ...
, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.


Types by finder of fact

Where the trial is held before a group of members of the community, it is called a
jury trial A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a legal proceeding in which a jury makes a decision or findings of fact. It is distinguished from a bench trial in which a judge or panel of judges makes all decisions. Jury trials are used in a signifi ...
. Where the trial is held solely before a judge, it is called a
bench trial A bench trial is a trial by judge, as opposed to a trial by jury. The term applies most appropriately to any administrative hearing in relation to a summary offense to distinguish the type of trial. Many legal systems ( Roman, Islamic) use b ...
. Hearings before administrative bodies may have many of the features of a trial before a court, but are typically not referred to as trials. An
appeal In law, an appeal is the process in which cases are reviewed by a higher authority, where parties request a formal change to an official decision. Appeals function both as a process for error correction as well as a process of clarifying and ...
(appellate proceeding) is also generally not deemed a trial, because such proceedings are usually restricted to a review of the evidence presented before the
trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the admin ...
, and do not permit the introduction of new evidence.


Types by dispute

Trials can also be divided by the type of dispute at issue.


Criminal

A
criminal trial Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or i ...
is designed to resolve accusations brought (usually by a
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
) against a person accused of a
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in C ...
. In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
systems, most criminal
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a Legal personality, person or object who is the Party (law), party either accused of committing a crime in Criminal procedure, criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in ...
s are entitled to a trial held before a jury. Because the state is attempting to use its power to deprive the accused of life, liberty, or property, the
rights of the accused Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or i ...
afforded to criminal defendants are typically broad. The rules of
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or i ...
provide rules for criminal trials.


Civil

A civil trial is generally held to settle
lawsuit - A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used in reference to a civil act ...
s or civil claims—non-criminal disputes. In some countries, the government can both sue and be sued in a civil capacity. The rules of
civil procedure Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the rules and standards that court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law) ...
provide rules for civil trials.


Administrative

Although
administrative hearing In law, a hearing is a Legal proceeding, proceeding before a court or other decision-making body or officer, such as a government agency or a legislative committee. Description A hearing is generally distinguished from a trial (law), trial in t ...
s are not ordinarily considered trials, they retain many elements found in more "formal" trial settings. When the dispute goes to a judicial setting, it is called an administrative trial, to revise the administrative hearing, depending on the jurisdiction. The types of disputes handled in these hearings are governed by
administrative law Administrative law is the division of law that governs the activities of government agency, executive branch agencies of Forms of government, government. Administrative law concerns executive branch rule making (executive branch rules are gener ...
and auxiliarily by civil trial law.


Labor

Labor law (also known as employment law) is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions, employers and employees. In Canada, employment laws related to unionized workplaces are differentiated from those relating to particular individuals. In most countries, however, no such distinction is made. However, there are two broad categories of labour law. First, collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Second, individual labour law concerns employees' rights at work and through the contract for work. The labour movement has been instrumental in the enacting of laws protecting labour rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Labour rights have been integral to social and economic development since the industrial revolution.


Systems

There are two primary systems for conducting a trial.


Adversarial

In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
systems, an adversarial or accusatory approach is used to adjudicate guilt or
innocence Innocence is a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence is to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime. In other contexts, it is a lack of experience. In relati ...
. The assumption is that the truth is more likely to emerge from the open contest between the
prosecution A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law adversarial system or the Civil law (legal system), civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the ...
and the defense in presenting the
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evid ...
and opposing legal arguments with a
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
acting as a neutral referee and as the arbiter of the law. In several jurisdictions in more serious cases, there is a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty o ...
to determine the facts, although some common law jurisdictions have abolished the jury trial. This polarizes the issues, with each competitor acting in its own self-interest, and so presenting the facts and interpretations of the law in a deliberately biased way. The intention is that through a process of argument and counter-argument, examination-in-chief and cross-examination, each side will test the truthfulness, relevancy, and sufficiency of the opponent's evidence and arguments. To maintain fairness, there is a
presumption of innocence The presumption of innocence is a legal principle that every person accused of any crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have ...
, and the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. Critics of the system argue that the desire to win is more important than the search for truth. Further, the results are likely to be affected by structural inequalities. Those
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a Legal personality, person or object who is the Party (law), party either accused of committing a crime in Criminal procedure, criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in ...
s with resources can afford to hire the best
lawyers A lawyer is a person who Practice of law, practices law. The role of a lawyer varies greatly across different Jurisdiction, legal jurisdictions. A lawyer can be classified as an advocate, attorney at law, attorney, barrister, canonist, canon l ...
. Some trials are—or were—of a more summary nature, as certain questions of evidence were taken as resolved (see handhabend and backberend).


Inquisitorial

In civil law legal systems, the responsibility for supervising the investigation by the police into whether a crime has been committed falls on an examining magistrate or
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...
who then conducts the trial. The assumption is that the truth is more likely to emerge from an impartial and exhaustive investigation both before and during the trial itself. The examining magistrate or judge acts as an inquisitor who directs the fact-gathering process by questioning witnesses, interrogating the suspect, and collecting other evidence. The lawyers who represent the interests of the State and the accused have a limited role to offer legal arguments and alternative interpretations to the facts that emerge during the process. All the interested parties are expected to cooperate in the investigation by answering the magistrate or judge's questions and, when asked, supplying all relevant evidence. The trial only takes place after all the evidence has been collected and the investigation is completed. Thus, most of the factual uncertainties will already be resolved, and the examining magistrate or judge will already have resolved that there is ''
prima facie ''Prima facie'' (; ) is a List of Latin phrases, Latin expression meaning ''at first sight'' or ''based on first impression''. The literal translation would be 'at first face' or 'at first appearance', from the feminine forms of ''primus'' ('fir ...
'' of guilt. Critics argue that the examining magistrate or judge has too much power with the responsibilities of both investigating and adjudicating on the merits of the case. Although lay assessors do sit as a form of jury to offer advice to the magistrate or judge at the conclusion of the trial, their role is subordinate. Further, because a professional has been in charge of all aspects of the case to the conclusion of the trial, there are fewer opportunities to appeal the conviction alleging some procedural error.


Mistrials

A judge may cancel a trial prior to the return of a verdict; legal parlance designates this as a "mistrial". A judge may declare a mistrial due to: * The court determining that it lacks
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
over a case. * Evidence being admitted improperly, or new evidence that might seriously affect the outcome of the trial being discovered. * Misconduct by a party,
juror A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to hear evidence and render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a sentence (law), penalty o ...
, or an outside actor, if it prevents
due process Due process of law is application by State (polity), state of all legal rules and principles pertaining to the case so all legal rights that are owed to the person are respected. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the ...
. * A
hung jury A hung jury, also called a deadlocked jury, is a judicial jury that cannot agree upon a verdict after extended deliberation and is unable to reach the required unanimity or supermajority. Hung jury usually results in the case being tried again. T ...
which cannot reach a verdict with the required degree of unanimity. In a criminal trial, if the jury is able to reach a verdict on some charges but not others, the defendant may be retried on the charges that led to the deadlock, at the discretion of the prosecution. * Disqualification of a juror after the jury is empaneled, if no alternative juror is available and the litigants do not agree to proceed with the remaining jurors, or the remaining jurors not meeting the required number for a trial. * The illness or death of a juror or attorney. * Attempting to change a plea during an ongoing trial, which normally is not allowed. Either side may submit a motion for a mistrial; on occasion, the presiding judge may declare one on a motion of their own. If a mistrial is declared, the case at hand may be retried at the discretion of the plaintiff or prosecution, as long as double jeopardy does not bar that party from doing so.


Other types

Some other kinds of processes for resolving conflicts are also expressed as trials. For example, the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, in 1789. Originally comprising seven articles, it delineates the nat ...
requires that, following the
impeachment Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. It may be understood as a unique process involving both political Politics (from , ...
of the President, a judge, or another federal officer by the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies in many countries and sub-national entitles. In many countries, the House of Representatives is the lower house of a bicameral Bicameralism is a type of legislature, one divided ...
, the subject of the impeachment may only be removed from office by a
impeachment trial An impeachment trial is a trial that functions as a component of an impeachment. Several governments utilize impeachment trials as a part of their processes for impeachment, but differ as to when in the impeachment process trials take place and how ...
in the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
. In earlier times disputes were often settled through a
trial by ordeal Trial by ordeal was an ancient judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused was determined by subjecting them to a painful, or at least an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience. In Middle Ages, medieval Europe, like trial b ...
, where parties would have to endure physical suffering in order to prove their righteousness; or through a
trial by combat Trial by combat (also wager of battle, trial by battle or judicial duel) was a method of Germanic law to settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or a confession in which two parties in dispute fought in single combat; the winner of the ...
, in which the winner of a physical fight was deemed righteous in their cause.


See also

* Brought to trial *
Legal process Legal process (sometimes simply process) is any formal notice or writ by a court obtaining jurisdiction over a person or property. Common forms of process include a summons, subpoena, Mandate (criminal law), mandate, and warrant (law), warrant. ...
* Trial graphics * Trial of the century


References


External links


Famous trials
by the UMKC {{Authority control Legal procedure es:Proceso jurisdiccional pt:Processo (direito)