The civil adversarial system that developed over centuries in England, and later spread to the U.S. and other colonies, might not work as well as a truth-seeking system.
Taxpayers pay for their countries' legal systems, including the wages of law officers, judges, legal bureaucrats, regulators, police, and prosecutors. Citizens living under English-style common law legal systems (and in particular those of former colonies Australia and the United States) also increasingly sense there is something wrong with these systems. A poll taken for the Australian Reader's Digest in 2011 found that judges and lawyers are less trusted there than bus drivers, vets, police, hairdressers, or chefs.
But what exactly is wrong? Whatever it is, it seems that lawyers, including judges and academics, cannot help much; law schools generally teach what the law is, not where it came from, or what ails it, or the cure. If vet schools did that, a lot of cats and dogs would be dead, and a lot more children would be sad.
Chronology is always the first element of deduction, so perhaps an evaluation of the development of the Anglo-American legal system is in order. The following account, drawn largely from the words of more than 300 lawyers and judges over the past few millenia, suggests that the system developed in what we might classify as six stages.
1. Trickle-down extortion. English common law began in 1166. At the time, every public office was for sale; buyers in turn extorted bribes from people who dealt with the office. It seems fair to assume that judges used lawyers as go-betweens for extortions. The entire form of the law, then, evolved from an elaborate dance of bribery and manipulation; hardly a solid foundation upon which to build a society.