Envisioning Reform: Conceptual and Practical Obstacles to Improving Judicial Performance in Latin America
Judicial reform became an important part of the agenda for development in Latin America early in the 1980s, when countries in the region started the process of democratization. Connections began to be made between judicial performance and market-based growth, and development specialists turned their attention to “second generation” institutional reforms. Although considerable progress has been made already in strengthening the judiciary and its supporting infrastructure (police, prosecutors, public defense counsel, the private bar, law schools, and the like), much remains to be done.
Linn Hammergren’s book aims to turn the spotlight on the problems in the movement toward judicial reform in Latin America over the past two decades and to suggest ways to keep the movement on track toward achieving its multiple, though often conflicting, goals. After Part I’s overview of the reform movement’s history since the 1980s, Part II examines five approaches that have been taken to judicial reform, tracing their intellectual origins, historical and strategic development, the roles of local and international participants, and their relative success in producing positive change. Part III builds on this evaluation of the five partial approaches by offering a synthetic critique aimed at showing how to turn approaches into strategies, how to ensure they are based on experiential knowledge, and how to unite separate lines of action.
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The Mexican federal judiciary, which currently receives about 1.4 percent of the federal budget is campaigning for a constitutional earmark. It originally aimed at 6 percent, but later reduced its demands to 2.4. 17.
Brazil began such a program under the military government of the 1980s, formally recognizing it in its 1988 constitution.44 Its small claims courts with special expedited procedures have since spread at both the state and federal level.
One example is the expansion of the amparo in Mexico's federal courts.54 A Supreme Court decision in the midnineteenth century allowed the use of the amparo (as a due process guarantee) to question the judgments of state courts.
The U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence (Pub. L. 93-595, § 1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1937) allow judges to call and interrogate witnesses (Rule 614), but, as Richard Messick, who brought this to my attention, notes, they are less likely to ...
A few countries (Peru until the turn of the century, Argentina at the federal level and in many provinces) retain an investigative judge as well as a prosecutor. As they have introduced oral trials, they are considered to have a ...
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Envisioning Reform: Improving Judicial Performance in Latin America
Limited preview - 2010