In this Essay I suggest the heretical notion that the adversary system may no longer be the best method for our legal system to deal with all of the matters that come within its purview. If latetwentieth century learning has taught us anything, it is that truth is illusive, partial, interpretable, dependent on the characteristics of the knowers as well as the known, and, most importantly, complex. In short, there may be more than just two sides to every story. The binary nature of the adversary system and its particular methods and tactics often may thwart some of the essential goals of any legal system. This Essay argues that our epistemology has changed sufficiently in this era of poststructural, postmodern knowledge so that we need to reexamine the attributes of the adversary system as the "ideal type" of a legal system, and also reexamine the practice based on the premises of that system. Although some scholars justify the adversary system on the grounds that it satisfies a variety of truth and justice criteria, I believe that consideration of those criteria is, itself, contingent and must be historicized and reconsidered as our knowledge base changes.
38 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 5-44
Scholarly Commons Citation
Menkel-Meadow, Carrie, "The Trouble With the Adversary System in a Postmodern, Multicultural World" (1996). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1745.