Understanding the court

joustingJustice Minister Judith Collins has today unveiled the Government’s proposals towards modernising the legal framework for many of New Zealand’s courts. see 100 year old court legislation in for overhaul.

The reality is that the New Zealand courts are modeled on the British legal system  which  dates back to the  middle ages.

In summary  it goes like this.

The king   is the head of  the state, the court is his.

Ordinary people could not speak to the King so they spoke to him through their representatives   the Knights Templar.  They summarized the situations and put this to the king .  The king would decide which story he preferred  and   give his decision. lord-judge

evidence was taken by swearing on the bible  and in those  days every one knew that  the role of  the  creator was  as the ultimate judge  so  telling a lie would mean you would burn  in the fires of Hell.  But as Maurice Williamson put it  in his  rainbow speech ,  with the evolution of man kind we now know  that  we would only  burn in hell for a few seconds .

Any way the King  got too busy so he appointed  his representatives  to the   court, they were called Judges , you can tell  that the judges we have today are connected to the past when you  look at the  ceremonial garments they wear . Now  you know why we bow to the Judge .. He / she symbolizes the crown .

Now there are two type’s of system  one is called  the adversarial system and  the other  inquisitorial .

The adversarial system which we  use  in the  civil jurisdiction   has the judge sitting  in an advisory capacity  he oversees  the   action between  the  two parties.

In reality  the   parties are in a fight to the death   and the judge sits in waiting  to    declare the  survivor the winner . He is more like a referee in a  soccer game  than like Sherlock homes.

Adversarial system- derives from Roman law the process is  the medieval mode of trial by combat-  Relating to or characteristic of an adversary; involving antagonistic elements  –a person, group, or force that opposes or attacks; opponent; enemy; foe.

I particularly like the definition given   here   “The definition of adversarial is anything related to a person, place, or thing where there is disagreement, opposition or where problems are created that go against a desired result.also see

The judge cannot act unless something is pointed out to  him  and it is   up to the parties to put  their case before   the judge.  If you place nothing  before the judge he has nothing to  balance up   and you lose.

The game is about knocking your opponent off the  perch  and if you think back to your child hood days you will see plenty of strategies.  Remember when your  sibling pestered you so much that you finally  lashed out.  well lawyers have not forgotten  the  chances are that  in those days your mum only saw you strike  your sibling and you   were  disciplined for it.. well that is exactly what lawyers do.  intimidation is the name of he game any thing to make you lash out  fall of the  horse  and they are declared the victor.

The early Templar nights morphed over the ages     and advocates emerged.  this was a skill handed down from father to son. They spoke Latin  so that the plebs  were well and truly out of their depth, this  was no doubt a relic from the time that religion, politics and law  were all one.

Even in the 18th  and 19th century  lawyers and judges did not have to have a law degree , we still have one judge in New Zealand  who has never held a law degree his skills being passed  down through the family  line .

So there we have it  folks   21st century  technology 12th century law. isn’t it time that we brought in the Inquisitorial system –Law (of a trial or legal procedure) characterized by the judge performing an examining role: administration is accompanied by a form of inquisitorial justice  – In the inquisitorial system, the presiding judge is not a passive recipient of information. Rather, the presiding judge is primarily responsible for supervising the gathering of the evidence necessary to resolve the case. He or she actively steers the search for evidence and questions the witnesses, including the respondent or defendant. Attorneys play a more passive role, suggesting routes of inquiry for the presiding judge and following the judge’s questioning with questioning of their own. Attorney questioning is often brief because the judge tries to ask all relevant questions. see

Great additional reading

the Inns of Court

The four Inns of Court have the exclusive right to Call men and women to the Bar – ie to admit those who have fulfilled the necessary qualifications to the degree of Barrister-at-Law, which entitles them, after a period of pupillage (vocational training) either to practise as independent advocates in the Courts of England and Wales or to take employment in government or local government service, industry, commerce or finance.

Thus, to qualify as a barrister, everyone must join an Inn and keep a qualifying session on at least twelve occasions.The government of each Inn is ultimately controlled by the Masters of the Bench, elected mainly from among its members who are also senior members of the judiciary or Queen’s Counsel. In the case of Gray’s Inn there are about 200 Benchers, whose collective formal meetings are known as Pension.The head of the Inn and Chairman of Pension is called the Treasurer.The Masters of the Bench are responsible for admission to the Inn, student discipline and Call to the Bar.

The history is set out very well by the   The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

and in the archives   of Grays inn  

the other temple sites are locate here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *