The Swedish Legal System

The Swedish legal system differs from the adversarial system of the United States and Great Britain. Within the adversarial system each side is permitted to present data supporting its position. It is the task of the judge or the jury to listen to both sides presenting their evidence and then to 'decide where the truth lies' (Myers, 1998, p. 43). The responsibility to investigate and seek facts lies on the parties. In the inquisitorial system (applied, for example, in Germany), the court has more of an investigative responsibility. It is allowed to gather information and question those involved (including the defendant). The Swedish system is something of a compromise between the adversarial and the inquisitorial systems. The prosecution and the defence are responsible for investigating the case and presenting the evidence to the court. But the prosecutor is required to be neutral; he or she must present facts supporting both the prosecution and the defence. In addition, the court has a responsibility to ensure that the investigation is of an acceptable standard.

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