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Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review x Jaar 2015 x Rubriek Article x
Article

Access_open Austerity’s Effect on English Civil Justice

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden Austerity, court fees and legal aid, adversarial and inquisitorial process, McKenzie Friends, simplified process
Auteurs John Sorabji
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article considers the effect of austerity-induced public spending cuts on the English civil justice system. In doing so it initially examines two fundamental changes engendered by the effect austerity has had on civil court fees and legal aid: first, a challenge to the traditional commitment in English procedure to adversarial process, and a concomitant increase in inquisitorial or investigative processes; and secondly, the growth in use of unqualified individuals to act as advocates in court for individual litigants who are unable to afford legal representation. It then turns to consider what, if any, effect austerity has had on simplified processes available in English civil procedure.


John Sorabji
DPhil, Senior Fellow, UCL Judicial Institute, University College, London, email: j.sorabji@ucl.ac.uk.
Article

Access_open Canadian Civil Justice: Relief in Small and Simple Matters in an Age of Efficiency

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden Canada, small and simple matters, austerity, civil justice, access to justice
Auteurs Jonathan Silver en Trevor C.W. Farrow
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Canada is in the midst of an access to justice crisis. The rising costs and complexity of legal services in Canada have surpassed the need for these services. This article briefly explores some obstacles to civil justice as well as some of the court-based programmes and initiatives in place across Canada to address this growing access to justice gap. In particular, this article explains the Canadian civil justice system and canvasses the procedures and programmes in place to make the justice system more efficient and improve access to justice in small and simple matters. Although this article does look briefly at the impact of the global financial crisis on access to justice efforts in Canada, we do not provide empirical data of our own on this point. Further, we conclude that there is not enough existing data to draw correlations between austerity measures in response to the global crisis and the challenges facing Canadian civil justice. More evidence-based research would be helpful to understand current access to justice challenges and to make decisions on how best to move forward with meaningful innovation and policy reform. However, there is reason for optimism in Canada: innovative ideas and a national action plan provide reason to believe that the country can simplify, expedite, and increase access to civil justice in meaningful ways over the coming years.


Jonathan Silver
Jonathan Silver, B.A. Honors, J.D. 2015, Osgoode Hall Law School.

Trevor C.W. Farrow
Trevor C.W. Farrow is Professor and Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School. He is very grateful to Jonathan Silver, who took the lead in researching and writing this article.
Article

Access_open Relief in Small and Simple Matters in Belgium

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden Belgium, small matters, simple matters, recovery of unchallenged claims, summary order for payment
Auteurs Stefaan Voet
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article is based on a national report that was written for the XVth World Congress of the International Association of Procedural Law that was held in Istanbul in May 2015 and that focused on Effective Judicial Relief and Remedies in an Age of Austerity. It first of all sketches the general judicial context in Belgium and some of its relevant features: the judicial organisation, the goals of the civil justice system, the course of an ordinary civil lawsuit, the role of the court, and the litigation costs. Next, a detailed and critical overview of the current and future procedures that offer relief in small and simple matters is given. The current summary order for payment procedure, which was introduced in 1967, did not meet its goals. The article concludes that a new trend is emerging in Belgium, namely keeping small and unchallenged claims outside the judiciary and providing for cheaper and more efficient alternatives.


Stefaan Voet
Stefaan Voet is an Associate Professor of Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a Visiting Professor at the Universiteit Hasselt.
Article

Access_open The Impact of the Economic Downturn in the Spanish Civil Justice System

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden judiciary, judge-made justice, court fees, legal aid, ADR-methods
Auteurs Laura Carballo Piñeiro en Jordi Nieva Fenoll
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Spanish justice system has been shaken by the economic downturn as many other institutions have. This article addresses in the first place some statistical data that shed light as regards to the number of judges and the costs and length of the procedure in Spain. These figures help to understand, in the second place, the impact of austerity measures on the judiciary, namely, the freeze on the hiring of judges and the establishing of high court fees. While they mainly concern the supply side of justice services, others such cost reductions in legal aid have had, in the third place, an impact on the demand side, driving many citizens to social exclusion and to resorting to self-defence mechanisms. The final part of this article addresses some remedies that may alleviate judiciary’s workload, but that fall short of doing it. All in all, the Spanish justice system seems to require a holistic approach to patch up edges, but one in which the role of judge-made justice in a democratic society has to be central again.


Laura Carballo Piñeiro
Laura Carballo Piñeiro is Associate Professor of Private International Law at the Common Law Department of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Jordi Nieva Fenoll
Jordi Nieva Fenoll is Professor of Procedure Law at the Administrative and Procedure Law Department of the University of Barcelona.
Article

Access_open Austerity in Civil Procedure

A Critical Assessment of the Impact of Global Economic Downturn on Civil Justice in Ghana

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 4 2015
Trefwoorden austerity, small claims, civil justice, civil procedure, Ghana civil procedure
Auteurs Ernest Owusu-Dapaa en Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The demand for and availability of civil justice procedures for small claims can neither be disentangled nor extricated from the health of the economic climate of the relevant country concerned. In this article, it is argued that despite not being a developed country, Ghana was not completely insulated from the hardships or implementation of austerity measures that were triggered by the global economic meltdown. The inevitability of behavioural changes on the part of the Government of Ghana as lawmaker and provider of the machinery for civil justice on the one hand and small claims litigants as users of the civil procedure on the other hand are also explored in the article. After properly situating the exploration in the relevant economic context, the article makes recommendations regarding how to minimise the impact of the austerity measures on small claims litigants.


Ernest Owusu-Dapaa
Ernest Owusu-Dapaa is Lecturer in Law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Email: eodapaa@yahoo.com.

Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
Ebenezer Adjei Bediako is Principal Research Assistant at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

    Pragmatism has become an established academic topic focused on an accepted canon of works and a number of seminal authors. There is something ironic about this fixation of the Pragmatist tradition. An anticipation of transience and embrace of adaptability runs through many of the classic works of Pragmatism. Nevertheless, there seems to be a tendency to fixate Pragmatism and freeze it in its classic iterations, especially with respect to its philosophy of scientific inquiry. The article seeks to retrieve the dynamics and adaptability the classical Pragmatists built into their notion of scientific inquiry. It seeks to illustrate the need for such flexibility with recent developments in the field of economics. When the financial crisis struck in 2007-2008, this involved more than the insolvency of a number of large banks. The crisis, at the very least, also involved the bankruptcy of a dominant economic model. It raised questions about the rationality of markets and the widespread faith in soft-touch regulation. It cast doubt on decades of neo-classical economic dogma that counseled small government, privatisation, and free markets. Neo-classical economics did not float free from other concerns. It informed notions about the role of the state, the limits of public policy, and the scope of democratic decision-making. Indeed, faith in rational, self-correcting markets affected debates in disparate disciplines like law, political science, philosophy, ethics, and history in many non-trivial ways. Hence, the financial crisis is also a crisis of scientific research.


Wouter de Been
Wouter de Been is assistant professor at the Erasmus School of Law, the Netherlands.

    The article takes as its point of departure some of the author’s multidisciplinary projects. Special attention is given to the question of whether the disciplines united in the various research team members already constituted a kind of ‘inter-discipline’, through which a single object was studied. The issue of how the disciplinary orientations of the research team members occasionally clashed, on methodological issues, is also addressed.
    The outcomes of these and similar multidisciplinary research projects are followed back into legal practice and academic legal scholarship to uncover whether an incorporation problem indeed exists. Here, special attention will be given to policy recommendations and notably proposals for new legislation. After all, according to Van Dijck et al., the typical role model for legal researchers working from an internal perspective on the law is the legislator.
    The author concludes by making a somewhat bold case for reverse incorporation, that is, the need for (traditional) academic legal research to become an integral part of a more encompassing (inter-)discipline, referred to here as ‘conflict management studies’. Key factors that will contribute to the rise of such a broad (inter-)discipline are the changes that currently permeate legal practice (the target audience of traditional legal research) and the changes in the overall financing of academic research itself (with special reference to the Netherlands).


Annie de Roo
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Expounding the Place of Legal Doctrinal Methods in Legal-Interdisciplinary Research

Experiences with Studying the Practice of Independent Accountability Mechanisms at Multilateral Development Banks

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2015
Auteurs Andria Naudé Fourie
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    There is a distinct place for legal doctrinal methods in legal-interdisciplinary research methodologies, but there is value to be had in expounding that place – in developing a deeper understanding, for instance, of what legal doctrinal analysis has to offer, wherein lies its limitations, and how it could work in concert with methods and theories from disciplinary areas other than law. This article offers such perspectives, based on experiences with an ‘advanced’ legal-interdisciplinary methodology, which facilitates a long-term study of the growing body of practice generated by citizen-driven, independent accountability mechanisms (IAMs) that are institutionally affiliated with multilateral development banks. The article demonstrates how legal doctrinal methods have contributed towards the design and development of a multipurpose IAM-practice database. This database constitutes the analytical platform of the research project and also facilitates the integration of various types of research questions, methods and theories.


Andria Naudé Fourie
Research Associate, Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law.
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