Monday, September 03, 2007

How real do you feel, Mrs. Peel?

Over on the Civ Pro Prof Blog, they have an anonymous student blogging about his/her experience as a first-year student in Civil Procedure. Unfortunately, Crash McAvoy (the anonymous 1L) thinks that Civ Pro is about learning to "accept procedural fairness as a substitute for finding the *truth[.]*" (Stars are his/hers.)

As the French say: hélas. Too many people think that procedural fairness and finding the truth are competing values. But the goal of our procedural system is not to be procedurally fair for the sake of procedural fairness. Rather, procedural fairness maximizes the probability of finding the truth. As my hero, John Steed, says so pithily, "Play by the rules or the game is nothing." The game of the legal system is resolving disputes. Finding the truth--and rightly resolving the dispute--when you have two opponents screaming is not an easy task. Civil (and criminal for that matter) procedure attempts to maximize the likelihood that the right party wins and that justice is done.

My (unsolicited) advice: think about civ pro like you think about logic: without it, you might get the right answer, but just because you're lucky.

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