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Law Courses Catalog

Jurisprudence: Access to Justice

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2017-2018 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2017-2018

This jurisprudence course explores Access to Justice taken to mean the individual right to be able to access a system of justice on impartial terms. A prominent thinker in this field frames Access to Justice as encompassing two broad aims. The “justice” aim is ideal and philosophic: this conversation seeks to define the nature of the good that all would enjoy in a legal system everyone could access equally. By contrast, the “access” theme is practical and resource-sensitive: this conversation seeks to identify and implement institutional arrangements that minimize exclusion and marginalization from the legal system. This course delves deeply into both themes, with special attention to two issues of growing significance: (1) access to civil (vs. criminal) justice and (2) enhancing access to justice given technological and other changes in legal services markets. The course is equal parts legal theory and empirical investigation of the US approach to access to justice. A background in philosophy isn’t required.

Evaluation is based on a paper on a relevant topic of each student’s choice, subject to professor approval. Each student is expected to make a class presentation on the topic of his or her paper. Students may use this class to satisfy the Capstone or W.I.E. writing requirements. Students who write a (30-40 page) paper that satisfies the Capstone or W.I.E. criteria will be eligible for an additional 1-unit individual research credit. The second half of classes will be co-facilitated by students.

Meets W.I.E or Capstone Writing Requirements.

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2016-2017 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below this new one. 

2016-2017

This jurisprudence course explores Access to Justice taken to mean the individual right to be able to access a system of justice on impartial terms. A prominent thinker in this field frames Access to Justice as encompassing two broad aims. The “justice” aim is ideal and philosophic: this conversation seeks to define the nature of the good that all would enjoy in a legal system everyone could access equally.By contrast, the “access” theme is practical and resource-sensitive: this conversation seeks to identify and implement institutional arrangements that minimize exclusion and marginalization from the legal system. This course delves deeply into both themes, with particular attention to two issues of growing significance: (1) access to civil (vs. criminal) justice and (2) enhancing access to justice in light of technological and other changes in legal services markets.

The course is equal parts philosophy of law and empirical investigation of the US approach to access to justice. A background in philosophy isn’t required. Enthusiasm toward theoretical questions about law and justice, and willingness to do the work of thinking through those questions, is required. The course does not meet the WIE or capstone requirements. However, students who complete the course are eligible to register for a subsequent independent study with Professor Jones to fulfill those requirements. Evaluation is by a combination of short written assignments, class participation, possibly class presentations, and a final exam.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2016-2017 academic year.

An inquiry into the definition of law, the concept of justice, the rule of law, the relation of law and morality, and various controversial topics in public and private law. For those taking the course to satisfy the writing requirement, a paper is required. Such students must arrange with the instructor a schedule within which to prepare all drafts of the paper and to present the paper to the seminar. For those students not intending to satisfy the writing requirement with this course, a 48-hour final essay examination will be administered. The enrollment is limited to the maximum allowed for seminars.

Meets the WIE or Capstone Writing requirement.