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Access_open Brazilian Civil Procedure in the ‘Age of Austerity’?

Effectiveness, Speed, and Legal Certainty: Small Claims, Uncontested Claims, and Simplification of Judicial Decisions and Proceedings

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2015
Keywords austerity, civil procedure, access to justice, Brazil, small claims
Authors Antonio Gidi and Hermes Zaneti, Jr.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The current debate in Brazilian Civil Procedure revolves around efficiency, legal certainty, and access to justice, not austerity. As a matter of fact, the debate over austerity is nonexistent in Brazil so far. By expanding the access to justice to a broader portion of the society, the legal system increased the number of cases and the costs associated with the judicial system. But the excess litigation and expense associated with the expansion of access to justice has contradictorily curtailed access to justice. This new situation demands new efforts to increase efficiency and legal certainty, while still increasing access to justice.


Antonio Gidi
Antonio Gidi is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Syracuse University. SJD, University of Pennsylvania Law School; LLM and PhD, PUC-SP University; LLB, Federal University of Bahia.

Hermes Zaneti, Jr.
Hermes Zaneti, Jr. is Professor of Law at the Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo and Prosecutor. PhD in Philosophy and Theory of Law, Università degli Studi di Roma Tre; LLM and PhD in Civil Procedure, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRS).

    This article sets out to contribute to the special issue devoted to multi-disciplinary legal research by discussing first the limits of purely doctrinal legal research in relation to a particular topic and second the relevant considerations in devising research that (inter alia) draws on non-legal, auxiliary disciplines to ‘fill in’ and guide the legal framework. The topic concerned is the (analysis of the) fundamental rights of minorities.
    The article starts with a long account of the flaws in the current legal analysis of the European Court of Human Rights regarding minorities’ rights, particularly the reduction in its analysis and the related failure to properly identify and weigh all relevant interests and variables. This ‘prelude’ provides crucial insights in the causes of the flaws in the Court’s jurisprudence: lack of knowledge (about the relevant interests and variables) and concerns with the Court’s political legitimacy.
    The article goes on to argue for the need for multi-disciplinary legal research to tackle the lack of knowledge: more particularly by drawing on sociology (and related social sciences) and political philosophy as auxiliary disciplines to identify additional interests and variables for the rights analysis. The ensuing new analytical framework for the analysis of minorities’ rights would benefit international courts (adjudicating on human rights) generally. To operationalise and refine the new analytical framework, the research should furthermore have regard to the practice of (a selection of) international courts and national case studies.


Kristin Henrard
Professor of minorities and fundamental rights at the Erasmus School of Law.
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