Trial – Concept, characteristics, legal framework and types

We explain what a trial is in Law, how it is governed and who intervenes. In addition, the characteristics of each type of trial.

A trial is a public procedural act.

What is a trial?

In law and legal sciences, it is called a trial a judicial discussion between the parties involved in a conflict of interest, subject to arbitration, that is, to mediation, of a court of law. These types of events are common in the legal life of any nation and are always governed by the provisions of the current legal system, within the framework of what is legal, official and legitimate.

Trials are, in the first instance, a way to resolve a conflict within the framework of the laws that govern and define society. That is, they are a way of peaceful and formal resolution of a dispute, in which the parties involved have adequate representation and can present their respective points of view, waiting for the institution that holds the judicial power to reach an agreement. conclusion, that is, to exercise justice.

The word judgment comes from Latin iudicium, translatable as “verdict”, and composed in turn by the words ius (“Law”) and dicare (“indicate”). Although this refers to jurisprudence, that is, to the act of deciding what is in accordance with the law and indicating it, when speaking in general terms of law, it is considered a trial as a synonym of legal process.

In other words, “trial” is called the public procedural act, in which a court welcomes the accusing and defending parties, and establishes the bases for the resolution of the dispute.

Every trial must be carried out before the appropriate bodies of the judicial power of a State, whose jurisprudence or decision-making capacity in the matter is adequate and at the same time the guarantor that the resolution of the conflict is as close as possible to what is established by the law. In a trial, whatever the type, two clearly differentiated actors intervene:

  • The parts, which are the parties in dispute, whose inability to solve their problems fairly leads to a fair trial. These parties are usually two: the plaintiff or plaintiff, who is the one who demands the intervention of justice; and the defendant exercising her right to defend herself. They can be natural persons or organizations (through their spokespersons or legal representatives), and each one usually has their own witnesses and evidence to argue in their favor.
  • Judge, who is the person authorized by the State to exercise jurisprudence on his behalf, given his knowledge of the laws and his proven track record in managing the judicial institution. These are part of a hierarchical structure of judges and ministers of justice that range from those who attend neighborhood disputes, to the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice. In some cases and judicial systems, judges are often accompanied by a jury, made up of citizens chosen at random to accompany the judge’s work and reach a public decision regarding a dispute.

Types of judgment

Trials can be of different types, depending on the way they are held (for example, oral and written, depending on whether the parties intervene in person or if everything is handled through documentation), or depending on the branches of the law involved in the search for a just solution. In the latter case, we can differentiate between:

  • Criminal trial, when the trial is held to respond to a public crime or a fault on the part of a third party, in such a way that it is considered a crime punishable by law, and that merits compensation to the victims and a punishment by the State to the victims. criminals. These lawsuits are usually about homicides, robberies, scams, etc.
  • Civil trial, when the parties go to the State to decide on matters of their civic life, both public and private, in the hope that a situation will change legally or that the other party will be forced to carry out some type of action. An example of these lawsuits are claims for divorce, nullity of contract or claims for damages, among others.
  • Contentious-Administrative Trial, when one of the defendants is the State itself or one of its institutions or organizations, and the plaintiff is a natural or legal person who considers that the operation of the State has violated their rights or has been improper. These trials usually occur when the administrative channels have already been exhausted, as a last instance of justice for the citizen before the state machinery. Examples of them are claims for the nullity of administrative measures, or lawsuits for corruption, among others.
  • Labor judgement, when the relationship subject to the State’s discretion is of a labor nature, that is, it has to do with work, professional activity or workers’ social security. These types of procedures are always public and, logically, one of the parties involved is usually the employer, and the other the employees or their union or representative bodies. Examples of this type of lawsuit are claims for unjustified dismissals, labor inspections, and malpractice lawsuits, among others.