Introduction to the Special Issue: The Future of Lay Adjudication and Theorizing Today's Resurgence of Civic, Legal Participatory Systems in East and Central Asia
International Journal of Law, Crime, and Justice (2011): 1-8
9 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2014
Date Written: April 1, 2011
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many nations around the world have moved to introduce a contemporary version of popular jury in their administrative system of justice. In the last two decades, East, Central, and Western Asia have become the focus of this global trend. Debates and proposals have also made headway in nations from Central and Eastern Europe to Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
We can trace the origins of these recent trends over the last five hundred years, as the system of lay adjudication has appeared at least twice before.
Some argue that the current sweep of judicial reforms in Asia is similar to the 19th century wave of reform triggered by the 1789 French Revolution. Political unrest in Europe strengthened the petit jury in England, and trial by jury became an integral part of emerging democracies on the European Continent as well as in the U.S.
The common elements in transformative time and space during periods of significant social change and political upheaval may be found in lay participatory systems that emerged as a symbol of democratic ideals around the world. The institution of the popular jury was perceived to effectively elevate ordinary citizens into the position of self-governance, and in fact became an avenue to secure direct, participatory democratic reforms.
Keywords: East Asia, Judicial Reform, Lay Participation, De-colonialism
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