Barton and Bibas, Rebooting Justice

In the mail, and on sale soon from Encounter Books: Rebooting Justice: More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law by Benjamin Barton (University of Tennessee) and Stephanos Bibas (Penn). Publisher’s summary:

America is a nation founded on justice and the rule of law. But our laws are too complex, and legal advice too expensive, for poor and even middle-class Americans to get help and vindicate their rights. Criminal defendants facing jail time may receive an appointed lawyer who is juggling hundreds of cases and immediately urges them to plead guilty. Civil litigants are even worse off; usually, they get no help at all navigating the maze of technical procedures and rules. The same is true of those seeking legal advice, like planning a will or negotiating an employment contract.

Rebooting Justice presents a novel response to longstanding problems. The answer is to use technology and procedural innovation to simplify and change the process itself. In the civil and criminal courts where ordinary Americans appear the most, we should streamline complex procedures and assume that parties will not have a lawyer, rather than the other way around. We need a cheaper, simpler, faster justice system to control costs. We cannot untie the Gordian knot by adding more strands of rope; we need to cut it, to simplify it.

And the blurb I was happy to contribute to the book’s back jacket:

“America’s legal establishment is right that our legal system is suffering an access-to-justice crisis, but dead wrong about how to fix things. In clear, energetic, skillful prose, Bibas and Barton first give the misguided crusade for Civil Gideon a decent burial. Then they go on to propose ideas that are much better ? better in moving with the times on technology, better at lowering rather than heightening the problems of cost and delay, and better at focusing the scarce talents of skilled courtroom counsel where they can make the most difference, specifically on felony charges.”

— Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of The Litigation Explosion

Other blurbs are by Deborah Rhode, Philip K. Howard, and Glenn Reynolds.

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