Weighting Justice: Constructing an Index of Access to Justice
29 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009 Last revised: 16 Jul 2009
Date Written: February 16, 2009
The methods and procedures for measuring the performance of a legal system are debatable issues. Legal indexes, although not common, do exist as a means for measurement and evaluation of various legal phenomena. This paper outlines one method using the Access to Justice Index, which is a procedure for aggregating the relevant data on the costs, the quality of the procedure and the quality of the outcome of a given legal path. This data is a result of the various justice theories that measure experiences of the user when attempting to solve a dispute. The paper investigates in detail the need for and applicability of weights in order to adjust the observed data. After assessing the possible methods of extracting and applying weights, we conclude that factor analysis is in fact the most practical and reliable technique. The option of non-weighting is also briefly considered, and sheds light on the possibility for leaving the data in its original form. The paper concludes with a discussion on the validation of the index and a case study of consumer disputes in the Netherlands to illustrate its performance.
Keywords: access to justice, index, weighting, costs of justice, quality of the procedure, quality of the outcome
JEL Classification: K00, K10, C43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation