THEORY AND PRACTICE OF COMPARATIVE JUDICIAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION
(LAWS-8020) - 1 UNIT
In the past few decades, the role of judges has changed dramatically, yet its nature has remained largely unexplored. To date, most cases settle or reach plea-bargaining, and the greater part of judges' time is spent on managing cases and encouraging parties to reach consensual solutions. Adjudication based on formal rules is a rare phenomenon which judges mostly avoid. This course explores the role of judges in an age if vanishing trials, both in the criminal and the civil setting and discusses it in reference to four legal systems: Israel, Italy, England and Wales and the US. It examines judges' new roles in reference to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as mediation, arbitration and restorative justice, and compares the regulative systems which enables the new practices performed by judges. The assumption underling the course is that the various Conflict Resolution methods, which are used outside the courtroom, as alternatives to adjudication, could have a strong and positive influence, both theoretical and practical, on judicial activities inside the courts. The Judicial Conflict Resolution (JCR) Perspective suggests that judges are often parties to the negotiation as to whether to adjudicate the legal conflict, third parties in an effort to mediate it, arbitrators as to guiding rules of compromise, as well as facilitators of dialogue, problem solvers and dispute designers. The hybridity of their conflict resolution work is related both to the variety of processes that judges use and to the fact that they are performed in the shadow of authority. The course combines simulations, training for courtroom observations, short videos, and interactive engagement with the research team of the JCR collaborators, which is sponsored by a grant from the European Research Council (ERC).