Legal Ethics and Reform

The Inquiry System & The British System

The inquiry system of law uses one government appointed lawyer to gather and present all facts in a case to the judge and jury. Parties are allowed to have their own lawyers and may ask additional questions at trial. This system is generally agreed to be 1/3 as costly, to be three times as fast, to give better results most of the time; but most important, it does not require that large numbers of young people be formally trained in dissimulation. Fees in this system are set by the government. Parties with small cases face small fees, parties with large cases pay large fees. The large cases subsidize the cost of the small cases, society accepts this approach because everyone benefits when society's disputes are handled properly.

In Britain, the adversary system works more smoothly than it does in the U S. British lawyers who go into court are called barristers. Lawyers who prepare wills, contracts, trusts, or regulations for the government are called solicitors. In America all lawyers are expected to be able to do either courtroom work or legal paperwork. British barristers because of their extensive courtroom experience make fewer procedural errors and do a better job representing clients. The British court system has two other improvements: 1) barristers are required to wear standardize clothing and must not use arm and body motions to dramatize their speaking points, and 2) juries are selected before the trial by an officer of the court or judge removing those that have conflicts. The barristers are not given any opportunity to challenge or disqualify members of the jury. In Britain the appellate process leads to a judicial committee of the Parliament not a stand alone "supreme court". This assures that the "case law" of Great Britain is kept compatible with the laws enacted by Parliament. In America it is not uncommon to see Supreme Court decisions working at cross purposes with the laws enacted by Congress or the States.

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