Janet Ainsworth

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The structure and practices of justice systems in many parts of the world are undergoing what can be seen as a kind of revolution – and one not merely of professional interest to lawyers and judges. What we are seeing in nation after nation is a move from inquisitorial models of legal adjudication toward adversarial models. The discourses of adjudication in these contrasting types of trials are changing the ways in which lawyers, judges, and witnesses come to see their role in the process. The change has implications that extend far beyond the courtrooms in which trials play out, however. Because the shift from inquisitorial to adversarial justice models determines how legal narratives are created and deployed in trials, this change has the potential to impact popular perceptions of legal legitimacy, which in turn has implications for the relationship of citizens to their government and justice systems. This article will detail the global character of this change in the nature of the discourse used in legal adjudication and will explore its potential ramifications for legal professionals and for society more generally.

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