Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Jacqueline E. Ross and Stephen C. Thaman
Chapter 1: Limits on the search for truth in criminal procedure: a comparative view
Across diverse legal traditions, the search for truth is a basic function of the criminal process.2 Uncovering the truth about the charged crime is regarded as an essential precondition to achieving justice, enforcing criminal law, and legitimating the verdict.3 Yet while truth-seeking is a broadly accepted goal in the criminal process, no system seeks the truth at all costs. The search for truth must on occasion yield to considerations related to efficiency, democratic participation, and protection of individual rights.Different jurisdictions around the world show different preferences with respect to the trade-offs between these values and the search for truth in criminal procedure. In an effort to promote efficiency, enhance democratic participation, or protect individual rights, legal systems tolerate certain procedures that are known to heighten the risk of inaccurate outcomes (Dama_ka, 1973; Dripps, 2011; LaFave et al., 2012; Laudan, 2006; Stamp, 1998; Weigend, 2003). Some of these procedural preferences can be explained with reference to the influence of the adversarial and inquisitorial traditions (Dama_ka, 1973; Grande, 2008; Laudan, 2006; Pizzi, 2000; Trüg and Kerner, 2007; Weigend, 2003). But the distinction between adversarial and inquisitorial systems on this point is not always clear. Great variation exists within these two traditions, and common approaches can be seen across the divide.Some truth-limiting procedures, such as those related to the exclusionary rule and the protection of individual rights, have been widely adopted across the globe and have proven amenable to adjustments that accommodate the concern for truth.