Criminal procedure is the process used in dealing with violations of criminal law. Like most aspects of law it often works differently in jurisdictions that follow the civil law tradition and common law. The majority of civil law jurisdictions use procedure that has developed based upon an inquisitorial system of fact finding in which judges who are trained as investigative judges undertake an active investigation of the facts through interviewing the various witnesses and examining the evidence to prepare reports. Whereas in common law based legal systems most of the procedure is based upon the adversarial system of dispute resolution. Some civil law systems use the adversarial system.
It is a widely held but incorrect belief that nations which follow civil law tradition put the burden of proof on the defendant or that the defendant is not afforded some of the basic rights such as representation by counsel.
See also: Indictment, Inquest, Laches, Notitia criminis, Statute of limitations, Trial by jury, Trial de novo, With prejudice