Judicial Procedural Involvement (JPI): A Metric for Judges’ Role in Civil Litigation, Settlement, and Access to Justice

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Abstract

We examine judges’ role in civil litigation by studying empirically the relationship between judicial procedural involvement (JPI) and lawsuits’ mode of disposition (MoD). Furthermore, we propose JPI as a metric for the allocation of judicial attention to litigants. Applying the framework to Israeli trial court data, we find that 60 per cent of cases included JPI (through hearings and rulings on motions) whereas 40 per cent involved only the court's institutional function. By juxtaposing JPI and MoD data, we shed light on the scope of judicial involvement in settlements, the ratio between judges’ normative public-life function and their problem-solving function, and other pertinent questions. Since nowadays lawsuits are rarely adjudicated, trial rates are low, and litigants in person (pro se litigants) are common, we argue that access to justice should also be construed in terms of access to judicial attention throughout the proceeding, which is readily measurable through JPI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-498
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author. Journal of Law and Society © 2020 Cardiff University Law School

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