What is an appropriate measure of litigation? Quantification, qualification and differentiation of dispute resolution

Authors

  • Carrie Joan Menkel-Meadow University of California Irvine

Keywords:

Litigation, ADR, process pluralism, access to justice, Litigio, Resolución Alternativa de Conflictos, pluralismo procesal, acceso a la justicia

Abstract

This article reviews the claims about rates of litigation in the United States, as either “too much” or “too little” (e.g. “The Vanishing Trial”). While we need to understand aggregate litigation rates to assess access to justice, it may be more important to understand litigation rates in the context of differentiated case types. Litigation, in some cases, produces too “brittle” (binary) or costly outcomes, which is what led to the American “A” (alternative/appropriate) Dispute Resolution movement. This movement (now moving across the globe) may provide “process pluralism” with greater flexibility in outcome and cost variations, (now often called “a”ccesible dispute resolution”). However, litigation is still important in a variety of justice-seeking contexts (e.g. for new rights creation, old rights enforcement, and precedent elaboration). This article suggests that the question of how much litigation is appropriate in any legal culture is dependent on a variety of factors that goes beyond simple aggregate counting. The article concludes with a critique of recent American legal practices in restricting litigation through mandatory arbitration, non-disclosure agreements, class action limitations, privatized mass claim settlements, and restrictive jurisdictional interpretations in judicial decision making and legislation.

Este artículo repasa las afirmaciones de que hay “demasiados” o “demasiado pocos” litigios en los EE. UU. Si bien es necesario entender las proporciones de litigios agregados para evaluar el acceso a la justicia, tal vez sea más importante entender las proporciones de litigios en el contexto de tipos de casos diferenciados. En algunas ocasiones, los litigios producen resultados demasiado “frágiles” (binarios) o costosos, lo cual originó el movimiento llamado “American ‘A’ (alternativo/adecuado) Dispute Resolution”. Este movimiento, ahora en expansión por todo el mundo, puede proporcionar “pluralismo procesal” de forma más flexible con diferentes resultados y costes (lo que ahora se denomina “resolución de conflictos ‘a’ccesible”). Sin embargo, el acto de litigar sigue siendo importante en varios contextos de búsqueda de justicia (por ej., para crear nuevos derechos, para aplicación de viejos derechos, y para la elaboración precedente). Este artículo da a entender que la proporción de litigios apropiada en cualquier cultura jurídica depende de varios factores más allá de un recuento. Se concluye con una crítica de prácticas jurídicas recientes en América, consistentes en la restricción del litigio por arbitraje obligatorio, acuerdos de confidencialidad, limitaciones en demandas colectivas, liquidación de reclamaciones colectivas e interpretaciones jurisdiccionales restrictivas en la toma de decisiones judiciales y en la legislación.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1146

Author Biography

Carrie Joan Menkel-Meadow, University of California Irvine

Chancellor's Professor of Law, Univeristy of California, Irvine Law School   and

A.B. Chettle Professor of Law, Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, Georgetown University Law Center

J. D. University of Pennsylvan cum laude, 1974;  A.B. magna cum laude with Honors in Sociology, Barnard College, Columbia University

LL.D (Hon) Quinnipiac University, 1995 and  Doctor Of Law (Hon.), 2010, Southwestern Law School

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Published

14-10-2019

How to Cite

Menkel-Meadow, C. J. (2019) “What is an appropriate measure of litigation? Quantification, qualification and differentiation of dispute resolution”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(2), pp. 321–354. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1163 (Accessed: 8 May 2021).

Issue

Section

Methodology, data and numbers: Too much litigation?