Reforms of civil, criminal, and administrative procedure are an important element of justice reform. They aim at improving the quality and efficiency of justice.
Procedural Reform in France: Speediness and Quality of Justice
This report published in 2004 on time management improvements through procedural reform in France proposes a number of changes in civil and criminal procedure. These proposals deal in great detail with areas such as the role of experts, the role of the judge, the use of information and communication technology and many others.
Litigation Against the Government in the Indian State of Bihar
An increasing number of cases are being filed against the Bihar government for failing to pay employee salaries, pensions, or otherwise honor its obligations. At the same time, there are a growing number of Public Interest Litigation, or PIL, cases being brought to compel the government to hold elections or protect endangered species. This flood of litigation is straining court resources and creating tension between the executive and the judiciary in the state. This section from a report published in 2005 on development prospects in the state describes the situation and offers recommendations for reform.
Australia’s Model Litigant Provision
While government is almost always a party to a criminal proceeding, governments in many countries often appear in non-criminal matters as well. Two common examples are when it is the defendant in government employment cases or plaintiff in a land acquisition matter. Like any litigant, government may act irresponsibly -- refusing to settle cases when it has no defense, delaying the case for delay's sake, appealing when it has no grounds for appeal. Recognizing the special responsibility of government towards the court system, the Australian Attorney-General has issued guidelines requiring its lawyers to behave as model litigants.
The Adversarial-Non-Adversarial Debate
Judiciaries that trace their origins to England are often termed "adversarial" while those modeled after Continental European systems are called "inquisitorial." Although there are real differences between the two, they are diminishing as reformers from one tradition borrow procedures from the other. This selection from a report published in 1999 by the Australian Law Reform Commission summarizes the historical differences between the two and the recent trend toward convergence in non-criminal cases.
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