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Article

Access_open Empirical Legal Research in Europe: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Interventions

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2018
Keywords empirical legal research, Europe, popularity, increase, journals
Authors Gijs van Dijck, Shahar Sverdlov and Gabriela Buck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Empirical Legal research (ELR) has become well established in the United States, whereas its popularity in Europe is debatable. This article explores the popularity of ELR in Europe. The authors carried out an empirical analysis of 78 European-based law journals, encompassing issues from 2008-2017. The findings demonstrate that a supposed increase of ELR is questionable (at best).
    Moreover, additional findings highlight:

    • An increase for a few journals, with a small number of other journals showing a decrease over time;

    • A higher percentage of empirical articles for extra-legal journals than for legal journals (average proportion per journal is 4.6 percent for legal journals, 18.9 percent for extra-legal journals);

    • Criminal justice journals, environmental journals, and economically oriented journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than other journals;

    • More prestigious journals being more likely to publish empirical articles than less-prestigious journals;

    • Older journals being more likely to publish empirical work than younger journals, but not at an increasing rate;

    • Journals being legal/extra-legal, journals in a specific field, journal ranking, or the age of the journal not making it more (or less) likely that the journal will publish empirical articles at an increasing (or decreasing) rate.
      Considering the lack of convincing evidence indicating an increase of ELR, we identify reasons for why ELR is seemingly becoming more popular but not resulting in more empirical research in Europe. Additionally, we explore interventions for overcoming the obstacles ELR currently faces.


Gijs van Dijck
Professor of Private Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Shahar Sverdlov
Law student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Gabriela Buck
Law student at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Canadian Civil Justice: Relief in Small and Simple Matters in an Age of Efficiency

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Canada, small and simple matters, austerity, civil justice, access to justice
Authors Jonathan Silver and Trevor C.W. Farrow
AbstractAuthor's information

    Canada is in the midst of an access to justice crisis. The rising costs and complexity of legal services in Canada have surpassed the need for these services. This article briefly explores some obstacles to civil justice as well as some of the court-based programmes and initiatives in place across Canada to address this growing access to justice gap. In particular, this article explains the Canadian civil justice system and canvasses the procedures and programmes in place to make the justice system more efficient and improve access to justice in small and simple matters. Although this article does look briefly at the impact of the global financial crisis on access to justice efforts in Canada, we do not provide empirical data of our own on this point. Further, we conclude that there is not enough existing data to draw correlations between austerity measures in response to the global crisis and the challenges facing Canadian civil justice. More evidence-based research would be helpful to understand current access to justice challenges and to make decisions on how best to move forward with meaningful innovation and policy reform. However, there is reason for optimism in Canada: innovative ideas and a national action plan provide reason to believe that the country can simplify, expedite, and increase access to civil justice in meaningful ways over the coming years.


Jonathan Silver
Jonathan Silver, B.A. Honors, J.D. 2015, Osgoode Hall Law School.

Trevor C.W. Farrow
Trevor C.W. Farrow is Professor and Associate Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School. He is very grateful to Jonathan Silver, who took the lead in researching and writing this article.

Xandra Kramer
Xandra Kramer is a professor at Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Deputy Judge at the District Court of Rotterdam.

Shusuke Kakiuchi
Shusuke Kakiuchi is a professor at the University of Tokyo.
Article

Access_open The Impact of the Economic Downturn in the Spanish Civil Justice System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords judiciary, judge-made justice, court fees, legal aid, ADR-methods
Authors Laura Carballo Piñeiro and Jordi Nieva Fenoll
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Spanish justice system has been shaken by the economic downturn as many other institutions have. This article addresses in the first place some statistical data that shed light as regards to the number of judges and the costs and length of the procedure in Spain. These figures help to understand, in the second place, the impact of austerity measures on the judiciary, namely, the freeze on the hiring of judges and the establishing of high court fees. While they mainly concern the supply side of justice services, others such cost reductions in legal aid have had, in the third place, an impact on the demand side, driving many citizens to social exclusion and to resorting to self-defence mechanisms. The final part of this article addresses some remedies that may alleviate judiciary’s workload, but that fall short of doing it. All in all, the Spanish justice system seems to require a holistic approach to patch up edges, but one in which the role of judge-made justice in a democratic society has to be central again.


Laura Carballo Piñeiro
Laura Carballo Piñeiro is Associate Professor of Private International Law at the Common Law Department of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Jordi Nieva Fenoll
Jordi Nieva Fenoll is Professor of Procedure Law at the Administrative and Procedure Law Department of the University of Barcelona.
Article

Access_open Austerity in Civil Procedure

A Critical Assessment of the Impact of Global Economic Downturn on Civil Justice in Ghana

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords austerity, small claims, civil justice, civil procedure, Ghana civil procedure
Authors Ernest Owusu-Dapaa and Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
AbstractAuthor's information

    The demand for and availability of civil justice procedures for small claims can neither be disentangled nor extricated from the health of the economic climate of the relevant country concerned. In this article, it is argued that despite not being a developed country, Ghana was not completely insulated from the hardships or implementation of austerity measures that were triggered by the global economic meltdown. The inevitability of behavioural changes on the part of the Government of Ghana as lawmaker and provider of the machinery for civil justice on the one hand and small claims litigants as users of the civil procedure on the other hand are also explored in the article. After properly situating the exploration in the relevant economic context, the article makes recommendations regarding how to minimise the impact of the austerity measures on small claims litigants.


Ernest Owusu-Dapaa
Ernest Owusu-Dapaa is Lecturer in Law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Email: eodapaa@yahoo.com.

Ebenezer Adjei Bediako
Ebenezer Adjei Bediako is Principal Research Assistant at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Article

Access_open A View from the Sky

A General Overview about Civil Litigation in the United States with Reference to the Relief in Small and Simple Matters

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords civil procedure, United States, small and simple matters
Authors Manuel Gomez and Juan Carlos Gomez
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article, which is based on the research conducted for the General Report ‘Relief in Small and Simple Matters in an Age of Austerity’ presented at the XV World Congress of Procedural Law, provides a contextualised and broad overview of these phenomena in the United States. After describing the general features of the federal and state judiciaries, including its adversarial model of judging, and the importance of the jury system, the article turns its attention to discuss the factors that affect the cost of litigation in the United States, the different models of litigation funding, the available legal aid mechanisms, and the procedural tools available for handling small and simple disputes. Furthermore, this article briefly revisits the discussion about the effect of austerity on the functioning of the United States legal system on the handling of small and simple matters and ends with a brief conclusion that summarises its contribution and sketches the points for future research on this important topic.


Manuel Gomez
Manuel Gomez is Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean of International and Graduate Students at the Florida International University College of Law.

Juan Carlos Gomez
Juan Carlos Gomez is Director of the Carlos A. Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at the Florida International University College of Law.

    The article takes as its point of departure some of the author’s multidisciplinary projects. Special attention is given to the question of whether the disciplines united in the various research team members already constituted a kind of ‘inter-discipline’, through which a single object was studied. The issue of how the disciplinary orientations of the research team members occasionally clashed, on methodological issues, is also addressed.
    The outcomes of these and similar multidisciplinary research projects are followed back into legal practice and academic legal scholarship to uncover whether an incorporation problem indeed exists. Here, special attention will be given to policy recommendations and notably proposals for new legislation. After all, according to Van Dijck et al., the typical role model for legal researchers working from an internal perspective on the law is the legislator.
    The author concludes by making a somewhat bold case for reverse incorporation, that is, the need for (traditional) academic legal research to become an integral part of a more encompassing (inter-)discipline, referred to here as ‘conflict management studies’. Key factors that will contribute to the rise of such a broad (inter-)discipline are the changes that currently permeate legal practice (the target audience of traditional legal research) and the changes in the overall financing of academic research itself (with special reference to the Netherlands).


Annie de Roo
Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Willem van Boom
Professor of Law at Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and professor of Law at Durham Law School, Durham (England).

Marc A. Loth
Marc Loth is Professor of Jurisprudence and Legal Theory and Dean of the School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
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