I really enjoy Phoenix Wright. I'm currently playing through the second game (I'm on the 4th case now), and while the game presents itself to Western audiences as though it's taking place on Western soil, it's very clear the game is Japanese through and through.
As you play through the games, it's clear that the legal system in the game is nowhere near what ours is. But I never really thought that it followed any real legal systems. I had written off the differences between our legal system and those presented in the game as hyperbole.
Well imagine my surprise when I came across an article posted on Escapist Magazine that presents the similarities between Phoenix Wright and the Japanese legal system. Apparently, there's some truth to the system presented in the Phoenix Wright games, including the strong-willed (and wealthy) prosecutor who drives the investigations, the relationship between the attorneys and the judges and the underdog role that we always see Phoenix Wright portray.
Traditionally, prosecutors were considered part of the judiciary and regarded themselves on the same level, or higher, than judges. Conversely, attorneys were considered far lower on the totem pole due their inferior level of legal education and their lack of influence in the bureaucracy. While post-war reforms have evened this out a bit, prosecutors retain a great deal of status and clout.
If you've ever played a Phoenix Wright game, and like I have, wondered at some of the legal oddities in the game, give the article a read and it might help clear up some of those questions you may have had. Oh there's still hyperbole in the Phoenix Wright games, but it's a bit different that I thought.