Power in Civil Litigation


  • Bridgette Toy-Cronin


civil litigation, power, access to justice


Blindfolded Lady Justice represents the ideal of justice – a system that has no regard for the parties’ power and is attentive only to the justice of a case. The reality, however, is that power does influence the course of civil litigation in Aotearoa. This article considers the dynamics of power in civil litigation, including the types of parties involved in disputes. It then surveys and evaluates potential areas for reform, including suppressing lawyers’ fees, equalising the legal spend between opponents, removing lawyers from disputes, increasing judicial control, conglomerating claims, and involving the public in procedure reform. It concludes that the most promising areas for reform to be pursued in concert are: regulation of legal fees, increasing judicial control and involving the public in civil justice reform.


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