Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Can We Learn From Germany?

Over at The Atlantic, Prof. James R. Maxeiner has an interesting post comparing and contrasting the American and German systems of civil justice. His conclusion is that that German system is vastly superior:

The virtues of German civil justice are clear. In the German system, judges are narrowing issues in dispute from the beginning. By the time they are ready to decide the case, the parties know upon which disputed facts the decision will turn. With each step forward, the decision of the case becomes increasingly predictable. Parties may read the handwriting on the wall and settle the case, not because the costs of going forward are too high but to avoid the litigation risk of an adverse decision. Throughout the process, an engaged and empowered judiciary ensures a speedy, reasoned, and equitable resolution. 
What the United States needs are judges that decide. The job of judges is not to superintend contests -- it is to judge. Through taking an interest in applying law to facts from the very beginning of lawsuits, American judges may help Americans realize at long last the right that they have claimed since 1776: that everyone "ought to have remedy by the course of the law of the land, and ought to have justice and right, freely without sale, fully without any denial, and speedily without delay, according to the law of the land."
As a future judge, what are your thoughts, Mr. Gillette?

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