The CourtsBook - 2006
Academic and policy circles have been abuzz lately over the political involvement of groups in the judicial process – the “court party thesis.” But how can we understand this debate without understanding the fundamentals of how courts actually operate? The Courts addresses this question by providing a well-informed account of the judicial system and its relation to democratic life.
Ian Greene covers all the dimensions of the judicial system that have a significant bearing on the quality of Canadian democracy. He offers an insider’s perspective on the workings of the court: the role of judges, lawyers, and expert witnesses; the cost of litigation; the representativeness of juries; legal aid issues; and questions of jury reform. Greene also examines judicial activism, though within a much wider context. The book moves the debate about the role of the courts beyond its most well-travelled aspects, such as judicial appointment, discipline, independence, and review, to consider the ways in which the courts affect daily life and to examine these effects in terms of democratic principles. The Courts acknowledges that although courts are often viewed as elitist and unaccountable, democratic components of their operation nevertheless make them a more valuable aspect of democratic practice than most citizens realize.
A valuable addition to the Canadian Democratic Audit series, this clearly written and engaging account of the court system will be welcomed by those studying law and politics.
Continuing the series assessing how well Canadian democracy is performing at the onset of the 21st century, Greene (political science, York U.) evaluates the Canadian courts system in relation to the basic tenets of democracy. The criteria he examines are public participation, inclusiveness, responsiveness to expectations, the responsiveness of decisions to democracy, and courts and democracy. Distributed in the US by University of Washington Press. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)