Archive for May, 2010

Simplifying the Irish Legal System to Fix The Economy

One thing that can’t be denied during the economic boom is that Ireland has become a litigious society. The below talk from Philip Howard on Ted really got me thinking that with Ireland as a country being so badly in debt surely one of the big area’s for savings would be in the legal and court system. Ofcourse brave would be the politician who decided to make cut backs in an area of litigation, however it could be done with amazing results. If you took the one principle from Philips talk: Judge not on disputes but on the effect on society.

Take some fairly simply examples, the effect on the over all tax take on making people spend time in courts / legal work:

1. Speeding / Other fines lost in the post etc – A mandatory court appearance?? Please in today’s web 2.0 work, a self financing website / app could automate these procedures for those that don’t want to argue against the charge. And really do you need the cop on duty present in the court, the guy may be as responsible for the fine as having parked the automated camera trap van.

2. Anyone that spends a day in court will be aware that there is a guard for each case in court in case a judge asks a question… why does this need to be physically present? Surely Video conferencing or prerecorded statements and prerecorded answers to the most likely asked questions by the judge would eliminate the wait around wastage, which is unbelievably costly. I don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that all those guards are needed in the court room, I don’t believe they enjoy being there and I don’t think the cost of their time when you consider the small relative fines handed out in the median in circuit and district courts. At the very least people accused should always have a change to enter a plea or accept a fine / sentence without showing up if they have no intent to dispute the facts as laid out. The opportunity cost has become too high.

3. I love Philips idea of “Case dismissed, without predigest or refiling” rules; there’s nothing worse than people using refillings to stall or elongate the processes.

The Law should be their to protect us, but it should be common sense that we use to guide us, Not fear of the law. Somewhere along the line we’ve lost sight of the end goal. To have societal rules that help us get along in life not to have a negative net impact.

This isn’t a politically motivated post, it’s a post of common sense brought on by Philips Howards speech.