Politics, Philosophy and Economics 20 (1):99-123 (2021)

Shai Agmon
Oxford University
The adversarial legal system is traditionally praised for its normative appeal: it protects individual rights; ensures an equal, impartial, and consistent application of the law; and, most importantly, its competitive structure facilitates the discovery of truth – both in terms of the facts, and in terms of the correct interpretation of the law. At the same time, legal representation is allocated as a commodity, bought and sold in the market: the more one pays, the better legal representation one gets. In this article, I argue that the integration of a market in legal representation with the adversarial system undercuts the very normative justifications on which the system is based. Furthermore, I argue that there are two implicit conditions, which are currently unmet, but are required for the standard justifications to hold: that there is equality of legal representation between parties, and that each party has a sufficient level of legal representation. I, therefore, outline an ideal proposal for reform that would satisfy these conditions.
Keywords legal representation  lawyers  legal justice  levelling down  equality of opportunity  moral limits of markets
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Reprint years 2020, 2021
DOI 10.1177/1470594x20951886
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Value in Ethics and Economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1962 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.

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Citations of this work BETA

Civic Equality as a Democratic Basis for Public Reason.Henrik D. Kugelberg - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-23.

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