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Access_open Cutting Corners or Enhancing Efficiency?

Simplified Procedures and the Israeli Quest to Speed up Justice

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords Israel, austerity, civil procedure, simplified procedures, small claims
Authors Ehud Brosh
AbstractAuthor's information

    Israel was spared the worst of the world financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, austerity concerns are by no means invisible in the developments in the field of civil procedure. These concerns correlate heavily with the long-standing Israeli preoccupation with ‘speeding up’ justice. An array of simplified procedural tracks, aimed at addressing the perceived inadequacy of ‘standard’ procedure, have been developed in Israel over the years. The importance of simplified procedures in the Israeli system cannot be overestimated. Their development illustrates the dialectical tension between the values of ‘efficiency’ and ‘quality’ in the administration of justice. During periods of austerity, the scales are easily (or easier) tipped in favour of efficiency and general or particular simplification of procedure. In times of prosperity, on the other hand, concerns over ‘quality’, access to justice, and truth discovery predominate, and attempts at promoting efficiency and/or simplification at their expense tend to be bogged down. Such attempts also tend to lose their extrinsic legitimacy and are widely viewed as ‘cutting corners’. This is evident in the recent Israeli experience with civil procedure reform.


Ehud Brosh
Ehud Brosh, LL.M., is a research student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    This article studies the significance of insights from non-legal disciplines (such as political science, economics, and sociology) for comparative legal research and the methodology connected with such ‘interdisciplinary contextualisation’. Based on a theoretical analysis concerning the nature and methodology of comparative law, the article demonstrates that contextualisation of the analysis of legal rules and case law is required for a meaningful comparison between legal systems. The challenges relating to this contextualisation are illustrated on the basis of a study of the judicial use of comparative legal analysis as a source of inspiration in the judgment of difficult cases. The insights obtained from the theoretical analysis and the example are combined in a final analysis concerning the role and method of interdisciplinary contextualisation in comparative legal analysis conducted by legal scholars and legal practitioners.


Elaine Mak Ph.D.
Endowed Professor of Empirical Study of Public Law, in particular of Rule-of-Law Institutions, at Erasmus School of Law. Contact: mak@law.eur.nl.
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