Inquisitorial Procedure


Also found in: Legal.

Inquisitorial Procedure

 

a type of judicial procedure in which the prosecution and resolution of a case are put in the hands of the same people. The procedure arose in the Middle Ages (in the 15th century in Russia) and was the prevailing form of legal procedure during the age of absolutism. Originally used by ecclesiastical courts in heresy trials, the procedure was later adopted by secular courts. In this procedure there were no parties; the accused and the victim (who was regarded only as a complainant) had no procedural rights; and the case was tried secretly within the judicial chambers. Cases were decided entirely on the basis of written materials from a pretrial investigation, often without the accused even being present. Accused persons were tortured to obtain confessions, and even witnesses were sometimes subjected to torture.

The inquisitorial procedure was based on a system of formal evidence in which the value of each type of evidence was determined by law. A confession by the accused was held to be the best proof. The testimony of witnesses was evaluated with due regard for the social position of the witness. The procedure was abolished in France in 1789, and in the other Western European countries in 1848. In Russia it was abolished in 1864.

References in periodicals archive ?
Key words: Conspiracion de Gual y Espana, crimes of lese majeste, inquisitorial procedure, colonial criminal justice, colonial lawyers, Catholic Church and criminal justice.
Arizona(7) as an attempt to extend the principle of the adversary system that "a suspect is never regarded as a primary source of evidence" to the essentially inquisitorial procedure of stationhouse interrogation (p.
In the absence of external checks on judicial authority, self-applied jurisdictional limitations, effectuated through an inquisitorial procedure nested within our adversarial system, fill a crucial role.
Courts of equity, for example, are rooted in inquisitorial procedure.
Both these examples of procedural differences suggest that the judge-led inquisitorial procedure allows greater interference in the life of an individual accused of a crime.
Lambert does not consider the origins of inquisitorial procedure in Roman law or compare them with secular usage.
The step-by-step exposition of trial methods that ended the Discours became standard parlementary and inquisitorial procedure in the region when faced with such cases, and Boguet's treatise on Burgundian law, whose publication would s hortly follow, reflected similar judicial principles and received similar praise.
283) Under old inquisitorial procedure, if a suspect did not take the oath he would be considered guilty "pro confesso" -- as if he had confessed.
In guiding the reader through the complex world of these aspiring saints, Schutte provides lucid introductions to topics as varied as inquisitorial procedure, medical theories of ecstasy, theologians' efforts to distinguish good spirits from evil ones, and learned and commonplace assumptions about gendered bodies.
The book concludes with four examples of trials that exhibited unusual inquisitorial procedures.