Adjudication is the formal method of resolving dispute. It involves the appearance of parties and their witness before formal institutions or authorities such as the law court or tribunal established by law. The method is usually set in motion through the law suit or litigation. It is important note that a particular event that gives rise to a legal dispute before the is court is usually made up of myriads of facts linked together like a chord.
For the judge or adjudicator to resolve the dispute, he must first of all ascertain the facts of the case and then apply the law to the facts. How then does the judge or adjudicator discover the facts? In other words, what the method employed by the judge or adjudicator in the finding of facts of the dispute before him? Two main methods, or approaches may be adopted in this regard namely the adversarial method and inquisitional method.
            The adversarial method /procedure Ghana as a former British colony on attaining independence opted for the common law legal system practiced in Britain. This system is adversarial in the opponent are given the opportunity to present their case to an independent judge who delivers a judgment after having the parties. The judge or magistrate in Ghana is this an independent umpire.
            This procedure gives each party and his lawyer a great deal of control over the way in which fact are collect and presented. Each party has the obligation to assemble his witness and present his evidence in a manner must favourable to his case and adverse to that of other party. The parties apparently appears adversarial and engage in contentious argument with each other and accusing one another as the cause of the dispute. This is why this method is called “adversarial” or “accusatorial” method.
            Each part calls his witness one by one and tries to establish evidence that are material to the success of his case through them. This process is known as examination-in-chief. After the examination in chief, the witness will then be cross-examined by the counsel for the opposite party. The objects of cross-examination are to weaken, neutralized and demolish the case of the opponent and to establish a party’s own case by means or his opponent’s witness. If a witness is not cross-examined. It is implied that the truth of his evidence is admitted by the other party. After the cross-examination or a witness, the party calling him has a right to re-examined him. The object of re-examination is merely to give the witness an opportunity of explaining any sneeringly inconsistency in his answer and to clear matters arising from the cross- examination.
            In the whole scenarios of the legal “battle” the role of a judge can be likened to that of an umpire assuring that evidence is presented in accordance with certain ground rules of evidence and procedure such of the rules that hearsay evidence is inadmissible, that a lawyer must not ask his own witness a leading question.   
            And that a party must make up his mind on the balance of probability which version of the facts and legal argument he prefers. The judge may feel that some important evidence is missing or that the lawyer has-failed to ask the right questions or call all the relevant witnesses but there is nothing he can do about that. He must make up his mind on the basis of the evidence presented and must not descend to the legal "arena" to search for evidence on behalf of the parties even if the facts are well known to him. He also cannot question a witness himself except to clarify an ambiguity in the witnesses answer.
The adversarial method presents a classic case of parties who are theoretically operating on a level-playing ground. The parties are bound by the same rules. Neither side is forced to disclose the details of his evidence in advance before the trial than the other. The judge had to decide the case on the balance of probability which favours neither party. If the imaginary scale of justice tilts 51% in favour of a party judgment will be given in his favour. The principle of equality or level playing ground may however be modified due to some policy considerations. Instances where the principle has been modified are:-
a.         Criminal Procedure
            In criminal procedure" white the prosecution has to reveal its evidence to the accused before trial thus enabling the accused to prepare his defence, the accused on his part is not bound to disclose has his defence in advance. As a matter of fact an accused has a right So refuse to answer certain incriminating questions both before his arraignment and during trial. Also, the prosecution must prove the guilt of the accused not on the balance of probability but beyond reasonable doubt which is a higher standard. These and other rules of criminal law and procedure favouring the accused at the expense of the prosecution are predicated on the policy that it is better to allow nine guilty persons to go scot free by demanding irrefutable proof of guilt instead of inadvertently punishing one innocent person. Hence doubts in criminal cases are resolved in the favour of the accused. The presumption "of innocence is not simply a legal rule, it is a declaration of social policy.
b.         Case of Res Ipaa Loquitur which literally means "the facts speak for themselves". Res ipsa loquitur is a rule of evidence affecting the burden of proof aimed at assisting victims of accident. Where an accident or a mishap happens which does not occur in the ordinary course? of events unless somebody has been careless, then the law will presume that the defendant had been careless because res ipsa loquitur. The rule has been invoked where, for example, an aircraft had crashed mid-air, where a tanker lorry had veered off the road in a daylight killing people sitting in the houses abutting the road, where a swab was left inside a patient after an abdominal operation. Where the rule is successfully invoked, the effect, among others, is to shift the burden of proof on the defendant to show either that the accident was due to a specific cause or that he had used reasonable care in the matter. All the plaintiff had to prove in the circumstance is that an accident occurred and that he is a victim of the accident. The plaintiff is relieved of the obligation of proving the exact cause of the accident and the exact person responsible for it because he is not likely to know since the thing which caused the accident was not under his management and care.
Advantages of Adversarial method
1.         It reduces the element of bias in the adjudicator since the judge or   adjudicator has to decide the case based on the evidence adduced        and argument canvassed by the parties. It is therefore easy to             detect where a judge or adjudicator has perverted justice. A   judgment, if challenged, may be reversed on appeal if it is against the weight of evidence.
2.         It gives each party the opportunity' to present his case and also         discredit the case of the other party to the best of his ability. It is            therefore possible for a party with an apparently weaker case to             ultimately put forward a better case depending   on the quality,         dedication   and commitment of his lawyer to the case.
3.    The method seems to be more acceptable to the parties than the             inquisitorial method because it gives the party equal chance to     win after exhausting their arsenals.
4.         The method may greatly enhance the development of the law.            Since the la.wv.3r has a greater degree of control over the conduct           of the case, he can come up with certain ingenious legal argument        or point which may be navel to the adjudicator. Such brilliance has in the past assisted the court in the exposition and development of        the law,
Disadvantages of Adversarial Method
1.         The adversarial method promotes the "sporting theory" of justice.    Those with the best lawyer (and often it is the rich who are able to    afford them) are the most likely to win.
2.         The method is sometimes acrimonious in character is viewed by       many (unfortunately including some lawyers) as a way of continuing a legal fight instead of resolving a dispute.
3.         Since cases are decided based on the evidence adduced, parties        and their lawyers may go to any length to produce "acceptable"          evidence such as procuring witnesses to lie on oath or forging             certain documents. For instance in Whitehouse v Jordan the Judges strongly criticized the Sawyers for the plaintiff for           "doctoring" the expert's evidence along a particular Sine. It suffices             to say that a lawyer is forbidden by the rules of professional ethics from resorting to "sharp practices" to circumvent the rules.
4.         Since the method vests the production of evidence in the parties       and their lawyers, it allows them a chance of determining the pace    of the legal process. A party who has no real defence may resort             to all sorts of delay tactics to either frustrate the plaintiff or force     him into a settlement. Lawyers in adversarial system are also often          indicted of deliberately prolonging a case in order to enhance their    fee. While this accusation may not be true in most cases, it     suffices to say that the undue delay which cases usually in court          suffer under the system is a cause for curious concern. In Ajani v             Giwa. Oputa J.S.C. (as he then was) observed as follows:

As of now, this case has been before the courts for 16 years. There is definitely something radically wrong with a system that    takes up to 16 years before a claimant can know whether or not he       is the owner of a piece of land.

5.         Long delay may impair the fact finding-efficiency of the system. For           instance, witnesses may have died or relocated to another jurisdiction. Where the witnesses are available, they may not be             able to fully recollect the facts of the case after some time. Certain   vital piece of evidence might have become lost or destroyed in the       course of time. Some rules have however been developed to             ensure that parties do not unduly delay the hearing of the case by     giving the court more power to control the trial. For instance, a suit         may be struck out where the plaintiff in a civil case or prosecutor in             a criminal case is absent in the court without any reasonable excuse. Also, judgment could be obtained in the absence of the   defendant or cost awarded against him. It is however doubtful             whether these and other rules have significantly helped to      overcome the problem of delay in the adversarial method.
The inquisitorial method
            Trials here are conducted in form of inquiries and not full scale litigation. The main distinguishing feature of this method lies in the fact that the judge or the adjudicating body has considerable control over the way in which the evidence is collected and presented. The judge or the adjudicator here does not stand as an umpire. Rather, he can enter into the "arena" of the trial by investigating facts himself and questioning parties and witnesses. In some cases the body may even appoint its own expert assessors or rely on the opinion of experts who have not appeared personally before it. The practice of relying on the opinion of experts who have not appeared personally before the body has been unsuccessfully challenged in R v Deputy Industrial Injury Commissioners Ex pane Moore which is fully reported by Farrah. Ms. Moore had suffered from a form of slipped disc which she claimed was due to her bending at work in her job as a crane driver. The tribunal held against her and she took her case to an appeal tribunal. Before this tribunal a consultant surgeon gave evidence on her behalf. Government medical officers gave evidence suggesting that the disc problem was caused by a pre-existing condition and not the bending. The tribunal also heard reports of the opinions of two other doctors given in previous cases as to the likely causes of disc problems. These doctors did not appear before the tribunal and could not therefore be questioned in an adversarial way by Ms. Moore. Nevertheless the tribunal relied on their opinions and those of the government doctors in concluding that the weight of evidence was against Ms. .Moore. Ms. Moore then asked the ordinary courts to overturn the decisions on the grounds that the tribunal acted against the principles of natural justice which required a fair hearing. The Court of Appeal dismissed her claim. Lord Justice Diplock drew attention to the essentially inquisitorial nature of the tribunal in the following terms:

... there is an important distinction between the functions of an insurance tribunal and those of an ordinary court of law, or even those of an arbitrate;' .. a claim by an insured person to benefit is not strictly analogous to a Us inter Panes [adversarial litigation]. Insurance tribunals; form part of the statutory requirements which entitle him to be paid benefit out of the fund. !n such an Investigation, neither the insurance officer nor the Minister (both of whom are entitled to be represented before the insurance tribunal) is a party adverse to the claimant. If an analogous be sought in ordinary litigious procedure, their functions most closely resemble these of anima curia [literally friends of the courts]. The insurance tribunal not restricted to accepting or rejecting the respective contentions of the claimant on the one hand and of the insurance officer or Minister on the other it is at liberty to form its own view, even though this may not coincide with the contentions of other…”

            Many tribunals in Nigeria today have a semi-inquisitorial character. The above liberal approach of an inquisitorial body to the investigation of fact has been upheld by the Nigerian courts. In Baba v Nigeria Civil Training Centre, the appellant was employed by the respondent as an Assistant Security Officer. His appointment was terminated by the respondent with one month salary in lieu of notice. Before the termination, the appellant faced an investigating body set-up by the respondent to investigate the allegation level against the appellant by some of his subordinates. The investigating panel submitted its report. The respondents gave the appellant a copy of the findings of the; panel which were adverse against him and invited him to defend himself. The gravamen of his complaints, was that he was no! given a copy of the allegation against him nor was ha allowed to cross-examine his accusers in short, his constitutional right of fair hearing was violated, in dismissing his appeal, the* Supreme Court hold that:

...Refusal to permit cross-examination of witnesses at an administration hearing will usually be a denial of natural justice. However, deprivation of the opportunity to test evidence by cross-examination is not a violation of natural justice if the tribunal can and does decide merely on the strength of an inspection or oral or written submissions supplemented by its -own local or-specialized knowledge..... In this case, the appellant was given reasonable opportunity of defending himself....

Advantages Inquisitorial Method
I.          It brings about speedy investigation and disposal of cases. In most    cases time is prescribed for the body to conclude its activities or a
            particular case.
2.         The procedure is simpler and less formal. The cost and the     formality commencing an action are usually minimal.  In most    cases a party has to file a prescribed form instead of issuing a            writ of summons and filing statement of claims as in the          adversarial method.
3.         Promotes equal access to justice.   This is because success does        no depend so much on the disputants being represented but rather   on the efficiency and investigatory capacity of the adjudicating             body.

            Recognizing the advantages of inquisitorial method there is a trend among the judges in practice to adopt a more investigative approach in certain cases especially in divorce suits and issues relating to guardianship of children where the welfare of the children is paramount. This trend is bound to spread rapidly as judges and citizens seek a more efficient means of resolving disputes. It will be a pity if lawyers are not able to change their adversarial attitude.

1.         Miscarriage of justice may result from hasty trial. While "justice       delayed is justice denied" "justice rushed is justice crushed". An     investigative body may be constrained to ignore certain details in         order to meet the deadline set for it to conclude investigation and     make recommendations.
2.         The quality of an enquiry may ultimately depend on the ability and effort of the adjudicating body. There may be hidden facts which   the body may not (with all its investigative capacities) be able to             draw out which only the parties and their lawyers can. The same       goes for certain ingenuous legal argument and authorities. These      shortcomings pose a great danger especially where the members             of the adjudicating body are lazy and lack" capacity for details.
3.         Many inquisitions are done in camera and are therefore void of the opportunity of being scrutinized by the public. For instance, the         case or the military officers who were convicted by the Abacha           regime for phantom coups is a testimony to the dangers           inherent         in any form of trial in camera.

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