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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... encouraged me to write; reviewed and criticized this and other manuscripts; tolerated my interviews and occasionally impertinent questions; and sometimes frustrated me to the point of having to get my ideas down on paper.
Reform is no longer a question of making an institution of government carry out its official role, but rather of enhancing its contribution to a number of broader social projects. Well-functioning judicial systems are supposed to ...
From the reformers' standpoint, many of these questions relate to the expectation that courts will resolve all conflicts ... Shapiro (1981) provides another line of argument, drawing on comparative examples to question basic assumptions ...
... we may all agree on the desirability of these three general goals, but additional clarification is needed before they can guide action. As just a start, several further questions loom large: access to what,19 efficiency of what,20 ...
whom?21 As we will see, even those pursuing an apparently similar end often appear to answer those basic questions quite differently. They also are quite capable of ignoring the other elements of the short list.
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Envisioning Reform: Improving Judicial Performance in Latin America
Limited preview - 2010