A legal debate is a discussion, discourse or exchange. Debate often occurs between opponents who are typically professionals in the legal field. Participants include lawyers, law school students, academics, jurists, politicians, candidates, lobbyists and third parties who have interest or expertise in legal issues. There are many other facets to the nature of a legal debate.
Legal debates assume many types and formats. They need not occur face-to-face between a Greenville car accident attorney and his opponent when they meet in court. Instead, they often unfold on the printed page as published judicial opinions or legal articles by academics. The following are some of the common forms and types of legal debates:
Judges within a court may engage in debate on the bench in the questions they ask and comments they make. However, often the debate occurs in published opinions, along with majority, plurality, concurring and dissenting opinions of disagreeing judges.
These debates sometimes take place on panels at seminars and conferences if in person. More often, though, they occur within law reviews and journals as articles, comments and responses. A law professor might publish an article in a law review. A second law professor then publishes a rejoinder with counterarguments in a subsequent issue of that law review or in another prominent journal or publication in the legal field.
Debates between judges can occur in person during a judicial conference, legal conference, panel discussion before the bar or legal education forum at a law school. They can even take place on the bench when judges sit together on a panel as the result of the questions asked and comments made during lawyers’ arguments. However, they often take place in printed form in written opinions. The U. S. Supreme Court has heavily followed and closely studied concurring, plurality and dissenting opinions from prominent justices sitting on that court. This debate form often focuses upon differing interpretations of key federal statutes, regulations or the Constitution.
These are often in-person debates between political candidates and are televised before elections. Among other forms is the debate that regularly occurs as part of the political process between the President and Congress. This form of legal debate centers upon the scope of executive and/or legislative powers regarding the other branches of government.
The next topic up for discussion in Legal Debates and Intelligent Discourses is the elements of a legal debate.