Failures of American Civil Justice in International Perspective

Failures of American Civil Justice in International Perspective

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Civil justice in the United States is neither civil nor just. Instead it embodies a maxim that the American legal system is a paragon of legal process which assures its citizens a fair and equal treatment under the law. Long have critics recognized the system's failings while offering abundant criticism but few solutions. This book provides a comparative-critical introduction to civil justice systems in the United States, Germany and Korea. It shows the shortcomings of the American system and compares them with German and Korean successes in implementing the rule of law. The author argues that these shortcomings could easily be fixed if the American legal systems were open to seeing how other legal systems' civil justice processes handle cases more efficiently and fairly. Far from being a treatise for specialists, this book is an introductory text for civil justice in the three aforementioned legal systems.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 344 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 b/w illus. 10 tables
  • 9781139120098

Table of contents

1. Civil justice: an introduction; 2. Legal method: thinking like a lawyer; 3. Lawyers and legal systems: access to justice; 4. The court: jurisdiction and applicable law; 5. Pleading: the matter in controversy; 6. Process: the right to be heard; 7. Judgments, appeals and outcomes; 8. Conclusion.
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Review quote

"It's a fantastic work that lays out in clear, calm language a nonspecialist can appreciate how the experience of going to court in the United States differs from that in other advanced countries -- specifically, Germany and South Korea. Ironically, foreign legal systems often achieve better results precisely by following practices that American courts once followed in earlier eras, such as narrowing the range of issues at an early stage and requiring that compulsory evidence-gathering processes be closely supervised by a judge. Waves of supposedly liberalizing reforms in this country -- such as the adoption of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (F.R.C.P.) in the 1930s, and the expansion of unsupervised discovery in the 1970s and 1980s -- stripped away protections against undue expense and strategic use of the process."
- Walter Olson, Cato Institute "This ambitious book critiques the American civil justice system through a comparative analysis of the United States, German, and South Korean legal systems....The book's strength is in showing how procedures and methods found in the German and Korean systems can be used to overcome shortcomings found in the American system. At first blush, I thought that given the enormity of the task, the book would prove unable to fulfill its stated goals. However, to my suyrprise and satisfaction the book accomplishes much of what it sought out to accomplish....The book is a worthy contribution to the current literature on comparative civil justice....The book should be required reading in law schools."
- Larry A. DiMatteo, Bibliothek "Failures of American Civil Justice in International Perspective is a fundamental and innovative work, which the comparative law discussion enduringly enriches and from whose teachings every reader will receive a great profit."
- Felix Maultzsch, Juristenzeitung
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About James R. Maxeiner

James R. Maxeiner is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore. Before entering academia he spent more than two decades in the international practice of law, first with the United States Department of Justice and then as Vice President and Associated General Counsel of Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. He is a former Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and guest researcher of the Max Planck Institutes in Hamburg, Freiburg and Munich. He is a member of the American Law Institute.
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