Efficient, Fair, and Incomprehensible: How the State 'Sells' Its Judiciary

26 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2010

See all articles by Keith J. Bybee

Keith J. Bybee

Syracuse University - College of Law; Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Heather Pincock

Kennesaw State University; Political Science, Syracuse University

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Socio-legal scholars often approach dispute resolution from the perspective of the disputants, emphasizing how the resources on each side shape the course of conflict. We suggest a different, "supply-side", perspective. Focusing on the state's efforts to establish centralized courts in place of local justice systems, we consider the strategies that a supplier of dispute resolving services uses to attract disputes for resolution. We argue that state actors often attempt to "sell" centralized courts to potential litigants by insisting that the state's services are more efficient and fair than local courts operating outside direct state control. Moreover, we argue that state actors also invest significant energy in claiming that the local courts are incomprehensible. Thus, in its efforts to introduce and advance centralized courts, the state argues not only that it offers the best version of what the citizenry wants, but also that it is impossible to conceive that people would want something other than what the state offers. We illustrate our argument and explain its significance by examining judicial reform in New York, where there has been a decades-long effort to displace local justice systems.

Suggested Citation

Bybee, Keith James and Pincock, Heather, Efficient, Fair, and Incomprehensible: How the State 'Sells' Its Judiciary. Law & Policy, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 1-26, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1732455 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9930.2010.00331.x

Keith James Bybee (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - College of Law ( email )

321 Eggers Hall
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY 13244-1030
United States
315-443-9743 (Phone)

Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs ( email )

400 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

Heather Pincock

Kennesaw State University ( email )

1000 Chastain Rd
Kennesaw, GA 30144
United States

Political Science, Syracuse University ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

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