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The Open Air of the Courtroom

It has often been said that two things you don’t want to see are “how a sausage is made” and “how laws are made”. In contrast, the philosophy behind civil cases is that there should be full disclosure of information by and to both sides. Rules have been in place for decades now that are designed to reduce, if not eliminate, surprises at trial.

I have also blogged extensively on aspects of trial practice such as cross-examination. That is consistent with the notion that fresh air and openness should be brought to a trial. By examining a witness in open court, the truth is expected to emerge. To be sure, there are instances where the trier-of-fact is not given all information because, for example, something may be privileged, or some other rule of evidentiary exclusion comes into play. However, the full flavor is one of openness.

Any fair-minded observer would prefer this system.

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