Haves and Have-Nots before the Law Lords

Authors


Abstract

One important characteristic of justice, and thus of our judicial system, is impartiality. One type of judicial impartiality is impartiality between litigants who command status and material resources (‘haves’) and those who do not (‘have-nots’). I investigate the success of ‘haves’ in appeals to the House of Lords between 1969 and 2003. I investigate two separate paths by which ‘haves’ might succeed more: relative status advantage over other litigants, and being able to hire more experienced and more successful counsel. My innovative operationalisation of relative status advantage shows that while relative status advantage does exist, it is largely a matter of governmental actors having significant advantages over all others; businesses and associations have no advantages over individual litigants. Instructing more experienced counsel also increases the chances of a litigant succeeding. This effect holds when accounting for the relative number of counsel and their relative win rates in previous cases.

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