Beyond Common Knowledge: Empirical Approaches to the Rule of Law

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9780804748032: Beyond Common Knowledge: Empirical Approaches to the Rule of Law

An intensive global search is on for the "rule of law," the holy grail of good governance, which has led to a dramatic increase in judicial reform activities in developing countries. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the widening gap between theory and practice, or to the ongoing disconnect between stated project goals and actual funded activities. Beyond Common Knowledge examines the standard methods of legal and judicial reform. Taking stock of international experience in legal and judicial reform in Latin America, Europe, India, and China, this volume answers key questions in the judicial reform debate: What are the common assumptions about the role of the courts in improving economic growth and democratic politics? Do we expect too much from the formal legal system? Is investing in judicial reform projects a good strategy for getting at the problems of governance that beset many developing countries? If not, what are we missing?

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From the Back Cover:

“This volume should be mandatory reading for the directors of multilateral development banks, practitioners, scholars, policymakers, and others who hope that reform of the formal justice system will bring about political and economic liberalization.”
—Paul Brest, President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Dean, Stanford Law School 1987-1999
“The chapters in this volume challenge the rule of law orthodoxy and introduce a much more textured account of the shifting and varying roles of formal and informal institutions that perform legal functions across countries, exploring the variegated micro-foundations of the rule of law. No scholar or policy maker should utter the words ‘rule of law’ without first reading this volume.”
—Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, former Chief Economist for The World Bank, and Nobel Laureate

About the Author:

Erik G. Jensen is Co-Director of the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School. Thomas C. Heller is Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies at Stanford Law School.

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