A Framework for Measuring the Costs of Paths to Justice
Tilburg Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Civil Law and Conflict Resolution Systems (TISCO); Tilburg University - Private Law Department and Faculty of Law; Tilburg Law School
October 1, 2008
The Journal Jurisprudence, Vol. 2, p. 111, February 2009
TISCO Working Paper Series on Civil Law and Conflict Resolution Systems No. 006/2008
For a long time, the official justice mechanisms have been perceived as expensive and unaffordable for the majority of people. In this article, I review the literature on barriers to justice and contemplate the identified barriers as costs that users must spend on their paths to justice. The goal of this paper is to elaborate a framework of categories of the private costs of justice, which should facilitate the measurement and comparison of costs of the paths to justice. Using the criterion of substance of the costs, the framework recognizes three categories - out-of-pocket costs, opportunity costs and intangible costs. For each cost category, I discuss the relevant measurement and validation challenges. A conclusion of the study is that despite the focus of policy actions and research placed on the out-of-pocket costs of justice, the costs from the other two categories are a significant challenge for the accessibility of the paths to justice. The use of the framework is recommended as a more balanced approach to measuring, comparing and understanding the existing barriers faced during the paths to justice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: costs of justice, intangible costs, opportunity costs, access to justice, barriers to justice
JEL Classification: K00, A12, B41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 16, 2008 ; Last revised: July 16, 2009
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