The chapters in this collection analyse politics of courts by building on a broadened scope of research from law and courts scholarship, which has often taken how high courts hold central executives accountable as a central problem. In liberal democracies that question has promoted the problem of tension between legal accountability and accountability to the will of majorities. Continuing to explore the question as a problem contributes to the idea that courts do hold central executives accountable. However, courts also govern with processes and spillovers from the process of taking cases, and via officials who represent citizenry through demographic diversity. Resurgent authoritarianism has made especially visible the political significance of court decisions concerning inclusion, and constraints on courts. This collection includes chapters that broaden inquiry to include lower courts, clerks of the court, the physical spaces of courts and diversifying the judiciary. The chapters include reflections on digitization and increasing computing power, both of which have shaped court processes and scholarship on them.
Susan M. Sterett and Lee Demetrius Walker
Edited by Susan M. Sterett and Lee D. Walker
The Research Handbook on Law and Courts provides a systematic analysis of new work on courts as governing institutions. Authors consider how courts have taken on regulating fundamental categories of inclusion and exclusion, including citizenship rights. Courts’ centrality to governance is addressed in sections on judicial processes, sub-national courts, and political accountability, all analyzed in multiple legal/political systems. Other chapters turn to analyzing the worldwide push for diversity in staffing courts. Finally, the digitization of records changes both court processes and studying courts. Authors included in the Handbook discuss theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches to studying courts as governing institutions. They also identify promising areas of future research.