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J R Soc Med. 2001 August; 94(8): 426.
PMCID: PMC1281650

Why doctors get angry in Crown Courts

The adversary system is even more unjust than Mr John Kirkham (March 2001 JRSM, p. 157) imagines. It is defined as a system controlled by lawyers, not judges. Geoffrey Robertson QC says it is a game and shouldn't be. Arthur Applbaum, Professor of Ethics at Harvard, says ‘lawyers might accurately be described as serial liars because they repeatedly try to induce others to believe in the truth of propositions, or in the validity of arguments, that they believe to be false’. (Hence my forthcoming work: Serial Liars: The Musical.) A US jurist, Murray L Schwartz, says: ‘...a lawyer is neither legally, professionally, nor morally accountable for the means used or the ends achieved’ on behalf of clients. In the opinion of a Sydney psychiatrist, Dr Elizabeth O'Brien, this remark sounds like psychopathy. The adversary system may thus be redefined as a game controlled by serial liars trained by legal academics to act as if they are psychopaths. I therefore trust that the British medical profession will support M Lionel Jospin's 1 June call for a common criminal justice system throughout the European Union. That will mean the beginning of the end for the adversary game and acceptance of the truth-based and (trained) judge-controlled system which was rejected nearly 800 years ago by a dozen or so probably corrupt London judges and lawyers.

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