trial (law)
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In
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
, a trial is a coming together of
parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview; cropped away black border edge.jpg, 300px, ''Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an ...
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, evidence ...
) in a
tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior." Institutions can refer to social mechanism, mechanisms which govern the behavior of a ...

tribunal
, a formal setting with the
authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of Empiric ...

authority
to
adjudicate Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come to a decision which determines rights and ...
claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, govern ...

court
. 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 ...

judge
,
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to 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 or Judgment (la ...

jury
, or other designated
trier of fact A trier of fact, or finder of fact, is a person, or group of persons, who determines what fact A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to corre ...
, 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 lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submit ...
. Where the trial is held solely before a judge, it is called a
bench trial A bench trial is a trial In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information (in the form of evidence Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion, because evident things ...
. 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 appellate proceeding is also generally not deemed a trial, because such proceedings are usually restricted to 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 adminis ...
, 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 Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come ...
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 State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
) against a person accused of a
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

crime
. In
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
systems, most criminal
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established f ...
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 Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property Property (''lat ...
afforded to criminal defendants are typically broad. The rules of
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come ...
provide rules for criminal trials.


Civil

A
civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for independent journalism *Civilian, someone not a member ...
trial is generally held to settle
lawsuit A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil ...
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 Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environ ...
provide rules for civil trials.


Administrative

Although
administrative hearing Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
s are not ordinarily considered trials, they retain many elements found in more "formal" trial settings. When the dispute goes to 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 is governed by
administrative law Administrative law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its en ...
and auxiliarily by the 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 the 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 or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
systems, an adversarial or accusatory approach is used to adjudicate
guilt Guilt may refer to: *Guilt (emotion), an emotion that occurs when a person feels that they have violated a moral standard *Culpability, a legal term *Guilt (law), a legal term *GUILT, or Gangliated Utrophin Immuno Latency Toxin, antagonistic parasi ...
or
innocence 200px, Bouguereau's ''L'Innocence'': Women, young children and Sheep">lambs are all symbols of innocence. Innocence is a lack of Guilt (emotion), guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, or wrongdoing. In a Criminal law, legal context, innoc ...

innocence
. 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 In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tr ...
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, evidence ...
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 ...

judge
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 (the jurors) convened to 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 or Judgment (la ...

jury
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 A legal doctrine is a framework, set of rules, procedural steps, or test, often established through precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case A legal ca ...
, 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 person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established f ...
s with resources can afford to hire the best
lawyers A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English la ...
. 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 system), 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 examining judge, judge 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 co-operate 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'' of guilt. Critics argue that the examining magistrate or judge has too much power in that he or she will both investigate and adjudicate Merit (law), 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 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 misconduct, juror, or an outside actor, if it prevents due process. * A hung jury 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 requires that, following the Impeachment in the United States, impeachment of the President, a judge, or another federal officer by the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, the subject of the impeachment may only be removed from office by a trial in the United States Senate, Senate. In earlier times disputes were often settled through a trial by ordeal, where parties would have to endure physical suffering in order to prove their righteousness; or through a trial by combat, in which the winner of a physical fight was deemed righteous in their cause.


See also

* Brought to trial * Legal process * Trial of the century


References


External links


Famous trials
by the University of Missouri–Kansas City, UMKC {{Authority control Legal procedure Trials, es:Proceso jurisdiccional pt:Processo (direito)