November 8, 2023
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Any criminal justice system’s goals are to punish the offender and safeguard the lives and property of those who violate the law. As a parent patriae, the State has an obligation to care for its citizens. The state may use all of its resources to punish the offender and provide victims of crime with justice. The State also has an obligation to ensure that innocent people don’t suffer for the sake of justice.

As discussed in various RJS Coaching institutes, different approaches are offered by two criminal justice models to deal with offenders and provide victims of crime with justice. If a system is conscious of its drawbacks and has made significant efforts to reduce them, it can better fulfill the goal of justice.

Adversarial System: About

A court acts as a mediator between the prosecution and the defense in an adversarial system. The entire procedure is a competition between two groups. The state and the accused are the two parties involved in the crime. The court acts impartially in this procedure.

Inquisitorial System: About

An inquisitorial system is a judicial framework in which the court actively participates in fact-finding investigations into cases. This system is for settling conflicts and bringing about justice for everyone as a whole.

Key Differences: Adversarial vs Inquisitorial System

The major differences between the adversarial and inquisitorial Systems are commonly discussed by the experts of various institutes for RJS Coaching. They are as follows:

Through the open battle between the prosecution and the defense, this system seeks to obtain the truth.By means of a thorough inquiry and scrutiny of all available evidence this system seeks to ascertain the truth.
Each party chooses which witnesses to call and what kind of evidence each one provides.The trial judge chooses which witnesses to summon and the order in which their evidence will be taken.
The court will oversee the process of how the trial is conducted.The court will decide how the trial is conducted.
Under adversarial systems, lower courts are bound by earlier rulings by higher courts.Under inquisitorial systems, lower courts make little use of earlier rulings by higher courts.
Lawyers have an active rule in adversarial systems.Lawyers have passive rule in adversarial systems.
The judges render their decisions based on the evidence presented, the hearing, and the results of the cross-examination and examination.The judge actively participates in questioning and immediately hearing from the parties.
Judges play a passive role in adversarial systems.Judges play an active role in inquisitorial systems.
Since the judges have no influence over case management, their contribution to case resolution is minimal.Since the judges have direct influence over case management, their contribution to case resolution is high.
All references are provided by each party’s individual lawyer.All references are provided by the judge as they serve as an active control.
In this system, priority is given to the hearing, the lawyer’s testimony, cross-examination, and examination.In this system, priority is given to records and information about the actual facts.
The judges possess a narrow discretionary power.The judges possess a wide discretionary power.
The system of managing cases is ineffective.The system of managing cases is highly effective.
The lawyers are in charge to have complete control over the case to the extent they wish to.The judges are in sole charge of setting the deadline for resolving each case.

Adversarial System: Pros and Cons


  • The presumption of innocence is one of the major objectives of the adversarial system. This implies that unless someone is proven guilty in the eyes of law, they are believed to be innocent of any offensive act committed.
  • The prosecution caries the burden of proof. They need to establish that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This puts a great amount of pressure to deliver a reasonable and equitable solution.


  • The fact that the adversarial system frequently places more emphasis on winning the case than pursuing the objective truth is among its most serious complaints. Instead of focusing on determining the true facts of a case, lawyers may employ legal ploys, techniques, and methods to cast doubt on witnesses or undermine their credibility.
  • Not every defendant has knowledgeable legal counsel on their side. Miscarriages of justice may result from underfunded legal assistance programs, overworked public defenders, or inexperienced lawyers who are unable to give competent defense.

Inquisitorial System: Pros and Cons


  • The inquisitorial system places more emphasis on discovering the truth and obtaining a just conclusion than the adversarial system, where lawyers concentrate mainly on winning the case. This lessens the motivation for parties to use coercive methods or manipulation.
  • The inquisitorial system makes it more difficult for one side to manipulate or misuse the legal system because it entails active court control of the inquiry. This has the potential to improve the proceedings’ integrity.


  • Because judges actively participate in case investigations under the inquisitorial system, there may be worries about possible bias or a lack of objectivity. Preconceived beliefs or biases of judges may influence how a case turns out.
  • Public scrutiny of inquisitorial inquiries is impeded by their often behind-closed-doors nature. The validity of the procedures may be questioned in light of this lack of transparency.

When we at various institutes for RJS Coaching consider the situation from an Indian perspective, we see that several committees and High Courts have stated their opinions that the time has come to apply beneficial aspects of the inquisitorial model to strike a balance between the rights of the accused and victims of crime, ultimately serving the purposes of justice.

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