The peaceful resolution of disputes is among the most important earmarks of a regime attached to the rule of law. Even in countries in which, for one reason or another, courts do not work especially well, civil peace is of paramount importance. The absence of effective institutions for the administration of justice between and among private parties would spell a high degree of social disorder.
Even in the absence of a crisis such as we are experiencing, justice systems face a number of challenges in this day and age. Does a jurisdiction have a sufficient number of persons qualified to administer justice, and what are the consequences of a shortfall? In the same vein, is civil justice operating under formalities that generate delays disproportionate to the purposes they serve? Do the procedures that are in place sufficiently allow parties to adequately present their case and adequately rebut their adversary’s? Is access to justice prohibitively expensive, most likely due less to court costs than to costs of representation by counsel? Are there safeguards in place to ensure the independence and impartiality of decisionmakers, and do they work? Is institutional bias or corruption a problem? Overall, does a justice system exhibit the qualities widely viewed as essential: procedural fairness, accuracy, and efficiency?
George A. Bermann,
Dispute Resolution in Pandemic Circumstances,
Law in the Time of COVID-19, Katharina Pistor, Ed., Columbia Law School, 2020
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2688