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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-06) Lopez Guerra, LuisFollowing the European model, many developing, and transitional economies have established councils, independent of other government branches to govern their judiciaries. Spain's experience illustrates the issues raised by the creation, and operation of these entities. It's Constitution states that the Council is to consist of the president of the Supreme Court who presides over it, plus twenty individuals, each of whom serves for five years. It is further required by the Constitution, that eight members from outside the judiciary be appointed by a three-fifths majority of Parliament. Nonetheless, the country's diverse political camps have differed on the methods for selecting members for the judiciary: opponents of election by judges cite potential ideological confrontations within the judiciary, and, the possible tendency to emphasize the interests of those who elected them is another factor. While experience suggests there is no single right answer to the selection of Council members, it does point to a broader latitude in election decisions. The note thus examines the core functions of the Council, as specified by the Constitution. Though not a court, the Council tasks are managerial, and administrative, and, develops and implements policies relating specifically to the organization of the judiciary.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-05) Baldwin, JohnThe note reviews England's experience on the potential of small claims procedures in expanding access to justice, which allow legal redress in situations where formal litigation would be too costly. But, while these procedures offer access to justice, they also illustrate the difficulties that informal dispute resolution mechanisms can pose. Advantages of small claims procedures reveal that most lay litigants favor informal hearings over formal courts processes, losing parties are not required to pay the costs of the winning parties, and, by and large, judges seem to be willing, and able to adapt to the informality of small claims hearings. Difficulties however address the inadequacies of preliminary legal advice in the absence of relevant evidence, or witnesses, as well as the wide variations in judges' approaches, who expressed different attitudes in the application of ordinary law in small claims. Moreover, both the undefined role of lawyers in informal hearings, and ineffective enforcement of judgments remain unclear, and problematic. It is suggested that if greater access to justice is the objective, the key is to design a civil justice system that provides costs, and procedures, realistically, and proportionately to the issue in dispute.