English Civil Justice after the Woolf and Jackson Reforms

English Civil Justice after the Woolf and Jackson Reforms : A Critical Analysis

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John Sorabji examines the theoretical underpinnings of the Woolf and Jackson reforms to the English and Welsh civil justice system. He discusses how the Woolf reforms attempted, and failed, to effect a revolutionary change to the theory of justice that informed how the system operated. It elucidates the nature of those reforms, which through introducing proportionality via an explicit overriding objective into the Civil Procedure Rules, downgraded the court's historic commitment to achieving substantive justice or justice on the merits. In doing so, Woolf's new theory is compared with one developed by Bentham, while also exploring why a similarly fundamental reform carried out in the 1870s succeeded where Woolf's failed. It finally proposes an approach that could be taken by the courts following implementation of the Jackson reforms to ensure that they succeed in their aim of reducing litigation cost through properly implementing Woolf's new theory of justice.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 113995055X
  • 9781139950558

Table of contents

Part I. Theories of Justice: 1. The crisis in civil justice; 2. Substantive justice and the RSC; 3. Bentham, substantive justice is no end in itself; Part II. Woolf's New Theory of Justice: 4. Woolf's new theory: a traditionalist view; 5. The overriding objective: a new theory of justice (I); 6. The overriding objective: a new theory of justice (II); Part III. Implementation: 7. Problems of proportionate justice.
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Review quote

'The significance and originality of the work lies in the success of Sorabji's jurisprudential project - to place the reforms of Woolf and Jackson in the wider context of theories of justice and, in particular, to identify structural similarities between Lord Woolf's vision and the prescient writings of Jeremy Bentham.' Richard Susskind, The Times '... a polished, sophisticated, challenging, and important study. It will enrich all courses on civil justice where the professor or student dares to ask: 'what are these rules for; and how should they be implemented?'.' Neil Andrews, International Journal of Procedural Law
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About John Sorabji

John Sorabji is a practising barrister and also the current legal secretary to the Master of the Rolls, to whom he provides advice on a wide range of subjects and specifically the English civil justice system's development. Since 2012 he has taught University College London's LLM course on Principles of Civil Justice.
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