Justice as Experienced by the User: A Study of the Costs and Quality of a Path to Justice in The Netherlands

39 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008 Last revised: 16 Jul 2009

See all articles by Martin Gramatikov

Martin Gramatikov

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

Laura Klaming

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Tilburg University - Private Law Department

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

People who experience a legal problem and pursue its resolution by a neutral person or neutral body have to deal with the costs and quality of legal procedures. High costs of reaching justice and factors related to the quality of procedures and outcomes might be perceived as barriers to access to justice. A person could lump a problem without taking any steps or decide on a strategy taking the expected barriers of access to justice into consideration. The paper includes an overview of the results from an empirical study of consumer related disputes in The Netherlands. The perceptions and evaluations of people who referred their legal problem to the Consumer Dispute Commission were analysed. A web-based questionnaire was distributed to 152 participants who used the procedure and received an outcome in the past 12 months.

Three distinct properties of the procedures were measured. These include the costs of the procedure, the quality of the procedure and quality of the outcome. The primary aim of the study is to assess and predict the role of cost, quality of procedure and quality of outcome as barriers to access to justice for this particular path to justice. The results of the study demonstrate that the perceptions of the quality of the outcome are strongly influenced by the favourability of the outcome. Positive evaluations of the quality of the procedure also increase the satisfaction with the outcome but not as strongly as outcome favourability. Monetary and non-monetary costs only have a marginal impact on evaluations of the quality of the procedure and the quality of the outcome. After controlling for the effects of outcome favourability and quality of the procedure, a negative association between monetary costs and the perceived quality of the outcome is observed. The amount of time that users spent on the procedure and the related stress were not found to affect the evaluation of the quality of the outcome. The costs of the procedure as well as the quality of the procedure are only marginal predictors of the quality of the outcome when compared with outcome favourability. This finding has significant effects for providers of paths to justice but has to be interpreted in the light of the specific features and conditions of the dispute resolution procedure carried out by the Consumer Dispute Commission. The relevance of the research findings is discussed in the light of previous research on access to justice and procedural justice.

Keywords: access to justice, costs of justice, quality of procedure, quality of outcome, measuring costs of justice, outcome favorability

JEL Classification: K40, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Gramatikov, Martin and Klaming, Laura, Justice as Experienced by the User: A Study of the Costs and Quality of a Path to Justice in The Netherlands (April 1, 2009). Tilburg University Legal Studies Working Paper No. 004/2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1118311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1118311

Martin Gramatikov (Contact Author)

Tilburg Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Civil Law and Conflict Resolution Systems (TISCO) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/webwijs/show/?uid=m.a.gramatikov

Tilburg University - Private Law Department and Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2980 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/webwijs/show/?uid=m.a.gramatikov

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31134662980 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=m.a.gramatikov

Laura Klaming

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Private Law Department ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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