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Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 41
Experience:  18 years practice on the High Street and in the City of London
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I have heard that the UK system is not "adversarial" like

Customer Question

I have heard that the UK system is not "adversarial" like the U.S.. If not, how is it termed? Does the duty of a U.K. lawyer require disclosure of incriminating evidence that a U.S. lawyer could legally withhold? I have heard that all parties in UK are supposed to be engaged in finding the "truth/justice" how and to what extent is this true or legally binding? Sorry, I am a philosopher, not a lawyer.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Scott Taylor replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your question.

The legal system in England & Wales is an adversarial one. This is also true for the systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland which, together, make up the UK.

Our system is different from that used on most of continental Europe which is based on the investigative or inquisitorial system. In those systems a governing Magistrate or other Government official will be responsible for conducting the investigation of the facts and dealing with trial.

In the UK system the police and Crown Prosecution Service (on behalf of the government) will fulfil that function in criminal matters. In civil proceedings this is the responsibility of the conflicting parties. An impartial Judge will then deal with the trial, considering all the evidence and reaching his or her decision on the basis of the facts and applicable law.

As for the disclosure of incriminating evidence, this will normally be for the police or authorities to uncover. In civil matters a Solicitor or Barrister (Lawyers) have a responsibility of client confidentiality to their clients which restricts what information they can provide to other parties. This will sometimes include documents which will damage the client's case although this duty does no extend to concealing information relating to the commission of illegal acts.

I hope that this deals with your question from both a legal and philosophical perspective.

Kind regards