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The Ambivalence of Litigation: A Criticism of Power

Jadal, Issue 13, May 2012

4 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2013  

Gad Barzilai

University of Haifa; University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies, Societies and Justice Program

Date Written: May 2012

Abstract

Israel is one of the most litigious societies on earth, having the most lawyers per capita of any democracy. Yet, litigation and social change may be perceived as oxymoron. Litigation is a court-centered process that deals essentially with resolution of limited disputes in a narrow legalistic sense, whereas social change is most often the result of large-scale political reform. While litigation is delivered by lawyers, social reforms are generated by social and political organizations. Research has demonstrated that the ability of litigation to bring about socio-legal change is modest, at most, and any such change is usually very limited. Relatively few cases have resulted in changes that extend beyond the immediate specific legal remedy granted therein. Below, I address both the sociopolitical thresholds that may prevent litigation from being helpful to minorities trying to effect change and the legal sociopolitical calculus that should guide their decision whether to use litigation.

Suggested Citation

Barzilai, Gad, The Ambivalence of Litigation: A Criticism of Power (May 2012). Jadal, Issue 13, May 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2207707

Gad Barzilai (Contact Author)

University of Haifa ( email )

Mount Carmel
Haifa, 31905
Israel

University of Washington - Henry. M. Jackson School of International Studies, Societies and Justice Program ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States
206- 353 3169 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.washington.edu/gbarzil/

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