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Knowledge in a Social World$
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Alvin I. Goldman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198238207.001.0001

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(p.272) Nine Law
Knowledge in a Social World

Alvin I. Goldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The fundamental aim of legal adjudication is to render substantive justice, but this requires true judgements to be made about material (nonlegal) facts. What institutional provisions for the disposition of evidence and the rendering of judgements will generate the highest ratio of true judgements? The chapter compares the civil‐law system of the Continent with the Anglo‐American adversarial system, pinpointing several aspects of the adversarial system that pose substantial risks of distorting the truth. For example, adversarial control of proceedings implies that lawyers in cross‐examination can make opposing witnesses appear unreliable or untrustworthy even when they are not, thereby leading the jury in the direction of error. If neutral judges conduct witness interrogation, as they do in the civil‐law system, this potential distortion is avoided.

Keywords:   adjudication, cross‐examination, evidence, justice, law

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