skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 78759 Find in a Library
Title: Courts - A Comparative and Political Analysis
Author(s): M Shapiro
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 252
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This textbook proposes a new model for the study of courts, one that emphasizes the different modes of decisionmaking and the multiple political roles that characterize courts in various political systems. It can be used as a basic text in comparative law or as the basis for a more general theory of the nature of judicial institutions.
Abstract: The book begins with a set of propositions about the behavior of courts as political actors. It argues that courts are not independent but part of the political regime. The author points out that courts often create their own legal norms, mix mediation with litigation to reach compromise solutions, and offer appeal not primarily for the protection of individual rights but as a device by which central political regimes consolidate their control over the countryside. These propositions are expounded by a comparative method which examines each claim in the context of the legal system which seems most likely to negate it. Thus, concerns about judicial independence have been placed against the background of the system that is generally regarded as the most independent -- English common law. The questioning of preexisting legal rules is studied in the system that is supposed to exemplify best the subordination of the judge to statutory law -- the code law systems of Western Europe. Mediation and litigation are studied in the imperial Chinese system, thought to rely almost exclusively on mediation; the political utility of appeal is pursued in the one major legal system that does not generally employ appeal -- traditional Islam. Reference notes and an index are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; China; Civil proceedings; Civil remedies; Common law; Comparative analysis; Court system; Decisionmaking; Judicial discretion; Legal doctrines; Mediation; Models; Political influences; United States of America; Western Europe
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.