EVOLUTION OF LEGAL SYSTEM AND RIGHTS. THE ANGLO-AMERICAN LEGAL TRADITION. ACCUSATORIAL SYSTEM. In Anglo-Saxon England: No distinction between civil and criminal cases One party accused the other at a meeting of the entire community.
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THE ANGLO-AMERICAN LEGAL TRADITION
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Therefore they had to speak with one voice, so verdicts had to be unanimous.
Confirmed principle of jury freedom from punishment.
Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of "Not Guilty" despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate they are charged with deciding.
Makes King subject to law but basically adapted Saxon legal customs
1215, King John forced to sign by nobles and bishops
For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood.MAGNA CARTA – “GREAT CHARTER”
Courts held in public but basically adapted Saxon legal customs
Oral combat before a jury of peers
Jury has the final say; judge is neutral
Confrontational; named witnesses
Specific charges spelled out in indictment by grand jury
Innocent until proven guilty
Discouraged use of torture.
Evidence made public
No double jeopardy
Did not have to testify against oneself.
Official prosecution by a judge
Guilt was assumed
Witnesses against the accused not identified
Routinely used torture to extract confessions
Questioning done secretly
Suspect could be retried indefinitely
Used self-incriminating oathAccusatorial System vs. Inquisition