Empirical Studies in Culture, Society and Policy Making
Edited by Dimitri Vanoverbeke, Jeroen Maesschalck, David Nelken and Stephan Parmentier
Chapter 10: Access to attorneys in Japan and judicial reform
While access to justice is an old theme in socio-legal studies, it is still vibrant and warrants continuing attention. This chapter identifies, first, the state of citizens' access to attorneys in Japan based on two recent empirical researches and highlights an important issue concerning the accessibility to the legal system and to attorneys in particular. The data was collected in 2000 and in the spring of 2005, just before the Japan Legal Support Centre was established, following the report of the Judicial Reform Council. Secondly, the introduction of the Japan Legal Support Centre is explained and its possible contributions to enhancing access to justice are discussed. The pattern of access to attorneys in Japan is not only interpreted as reflecting the distinctive nature of legal services which can also be identified and observed in the United States, but also is put in the context of Japanese politics and society in the post-war period. One can understand the Judicial Reform in progress as a government policy shift and the following institutional transformations, which may change the pattern of access to attorneys.
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