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Legal Professionals

The functioning of the justice sector depends on legal professionals with various profiles:

4 Judges

4 Court Staff

4 Bailiffs

4 Lawyers

5 Notaries

6 Paralegals


The Judicial Career in Latin America: An Overview of Theory and Experience

Efforts to introduce judicial career systems have proliferated throughout Latin America. This paper explores the reasons for this development, the changes it has produced, and its impact on the performance of the judicial sector. The paper draws on extra-regional comparisons to look at how common problems have been addressed in other settings and how successful these reform efforts were.


Court Staff

The Legal Status of Employees of the Judiciary: a Comparative Chart

Courts and related organizations employ not only judges but clerks, computer specialists, and other support personnel. For selected OECD countries, this chart compares the employment provisions for these support personnel, showing whether different categories of employee are accorded civil service-like protections from dismissal, the education requirements for the position, promotion and discipline arrangements, and other job-related characteristics.




Lawyer Fees and Lawyer Behavior in Litigation: Impact of Different Arrangements for Paying Legal Fees

A review of the theoretical and empirical literature on the impact different methods of paying for legal services and calculating the fees has on costs, litigation rates, settlement, and access to justice. While the theoretical literature is extensive, theorists differ on the impact different arrangements will have, and there has been little empirical work to clear up the disagreements. Studies in the U.S. and U.K. do provide some guidance, however, on the consequences of different arrangements. It appears that a rule requiring the party losing a lawsuit to pay the winner’s fee will reduce the filing of frivolous suits while encouraging the bringing of more suits, even for a small amount, that are meritorious. But overall the research remains so scanty and the effects of fee arrangements so complex to trace, that “both at the macro and micro level, we are hard pressed to find strong differences in behavioral patterns that can be tied to fee arrangements. This does not mean that fee arrangements do not matter; rather, it is indicative of the complexity of the effects of fee arrangements. The various effects tend to cross-cut in significant ways.”



Competition Among Lawyers and Notaries

As part of its effort to make the European Union more competitive, the European Commission examined restraints on competition among lawyers, notaries and other professions. It identified five types of restraints that can retard competition: 1) agreements on the price of services, 2) the practice of recommended pricing, 3) restrictions on advertising, 4) requirements on who can practice the profession, and 5) limits on the type of business structures that can be used to organize professionals. The Commission found there is a significant body of empirical research showing that outdated or excessive restraints harms the public without providing any offsetting benefits. In the attached report it notes that, for both lawyers and notaries, member states' rules need considerable updating. The report offers a number of recommendations for what to do. The EU report is based on a study done by the Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS) in Vienna. Click here for a summary and here for the full report.



Paralegals have an important function in the justice system. They perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts, which is work that is normally performed by lawyers. Paralegals are qualified through education, training or work experience to perform these tasks requiring recognition, evaluation, organization, analysis, and communication of relevant facts and legal concepts. They give advice and represent parties in court where representation by a lawyer is not required, they support lawyers in their work, and work under a lawyer's supervision.




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