Lawyer wants study on nonadversarial litigation system.A Naples Bar member has asked for a study on creating an alternative to the adversarial ad·ver·sar·i·al
Relating to or characteristic of an adversary; involving antagonistic elements: "the chasm between management and labor in this country, an often needlessly adversarial . . . litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. system, saying the future of the unified Florida Bar The Florida Bar is the mandatory state bar association for the state of Florida. It is the third largest such bar association in the United States. Its duties include the regulation and discipline of attorneys. may depend on finding a way of resolving disputes that is more palatable to citizens.
Richard D. Sparkman had originally planned to present his resolution during the General Assembly at the Bar's June Annual Meeting, but then agreed to wait and present it to the board at its August 23 meeting in Naples.
Bar President Terry Russell thanked Sparkman for his efforts and referred the resolution to the Program Evaluation Program evaluation is a formalized approach to studying and assessing projects, policies and program and determining if they 'work'. Program evaluation is used in government and the private sector and it's taught in numerous universities. Committee for further study.
"There is a growing population of Floridians who are alienated al·ien·ate
tr.v. al·ien·at·ed, al·ien·at·ing, al·ien·ates
1. To cause to become unfriendly or hostile; estrange: alienate a friend; alienate potential supporters by taking extreme positions. , disaffected dis·af·fect·ed
Resentful and rebellious, especially against authority.
disaf·fect with, and plain fed up with our court system," Sparkman said. "They are finding their voice in apolitically competent leadership which is directing their vituperation against the Bar to settle some unstated grievance with the Bar."
He pointed as an example to a proposed constitutional amendment last year that would not only have reduced the authority of the courts but would have given the legislature some oversight of the legal profession.
Without changes to the courts, he predicted the independent Bar will be done away with, perhaps by the end of the decade, as part of the dissatisfaction with the legal system.
"The single judge adversarial system The adversarial system (or adversary system) of law is the system of law, generally adopted in common law countries, that relies on the skill of each advocate representing his or her party's positions and involves a neutral person, usually the judge, trying to determine the was good in the 19th century and struggled in the 20th, and is inadequate in the 21st century," Sparkman said. "Our citizens who have been dragged through our court processes find them incomprehensible, prohibitively slow, expensive, and unfair....
"I am suggesting a nonadversarial system and possibly a multi-judge system, and possibly waiving the jury trial."
He submitted a suggested rule to the board. It called for three-judge panels where the agreement of two would be necessary to decide a case. Judges would question the parties and witnesses, and lawyers could suggest questions to the judges.
In a comment in the rule, Sparkman wrote, "The lawyers' job is to seek an advantageous solution for their clients. The judges' job is to seek the truth and a fair solution. It makes sense to have the seekers of truth control the evidence and the course of proceedings. The judges are not out to hide anything."
He told the board that the goal was to seek the truth, not have one or the other party win.
Board member Richard Gilbert. said he was concerned whether the judges would have access to pretrial pre·tri·al
A proceeding held before an official trial, especially to clarify points of law and facts.
1. Of or relating to a pretrial.
2. depositions and other information developed by lawyers in the case, and how cross-examination would be done.
Russell thanked Sparkman for his time and promised his proposal would be carefully considered.