Cover: Equal Justice: Fair Legal Systems in an Unfair World, from Harvard University PressCover: Equal Justice in HARDCOVER

Equal Justice

Fair Legal Systems in an Unfair World

Product Details


$42.00 • £36.95 • €38.95

ISBN 9780674237568

Publication Date: 10/08/2019


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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At the core of this book is the ethos of fair distribution upon citizens of the benefits and burdens of the justice system… This book is an essential read for all interested in the rule of law.—Kirsty Brimelow, The Times

Engaging and provocative… Other work has considered the case for deprivatization of legal-services markets but never with the resolute philosophical grounding that Wilmot-Smith brings to bear… Draws richly deserved attention to the abject failures of laissez-faire in serving the legal needs of the less advantaged.—Myriam Gilles and Gary Friedman, Yale Law Journal

[An] important book… Nowhere has there been any sustained consideration of how the structure of a legal system might affect the justice of laws, or what a just system of administration of laws would be. This is the gap which this book seeks to fill and it does so most impressively… Very thought provoking. I cannot recommend it too highly to anyone who is interested in the fundamental question of what makes a legal system just.—John Dyson, Middle Templar

Essential for anyone interested in the justice of legal systems. It is also of considerable interest to political philosophers concerned to work out the institutional implications of egalitarianism.—James Lindley Wilson, Mind

Makes a strong case for significant (and perhaps radical) legal reform… [Wilmot-Smith] promises to present a framework to structure future discussions, and I believe that he achieves this in this book. Everyone benefits from a just legal system as proposed by the author and we owe it to ourselves to explore this theory further.—Martine Dennie, Labour/Le Travail

Like many judges and former judges, I have long been affronted by serious gaps in access to justice. I have never come across any work which discusses the topic with anything approaching the breadth, depth, or rigor of Frederick Wilmot-Smith’s important book. I have some doubts about his proposal, which is radical indeed. But the ball is now very firmly in the court of those who disagree.—David Neuberger, former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

While many scholars have inquired into problems associated with ‘access to justice,’ fewer have asked the question of how, in general, a legal system ought to be designed to administer justice justly, and hardly any have offered a general and systematic political-philosophical account of what it would mean for individuals to have equal access to legal representation and courts. Equal Justice is a brilliant, nuanced, and timely exploration of these very important topics.—John Goldberg, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard University

Stimulating, clear, well-written, and persuasive, Equal Justice is a welcome contribution to a discussion that has been taking on recent importance in legal and political philosophy, focusing not so much on law and its nature but on the value of legality as it applies to how a political community governs itself.—Bradley Wendel, Cornell University

Whole libraries have been devoted to justice in the substantive law, but, startlingly, no theoretically engaged book exists addressing justice in the legal system—asking what justice requires of the institutions that collectively administer the law. Frederick Wilmot-Smith’s Equal Justice brilliantly fills this void. Full of sophisticated arguments beautifully presented—for example, that lawyers should not be allocated based on ability to pay because a just distribution of legal resources is constitutive of a just market—this book at once demands and repays close reading from anyone concerned with achieving justice under law.—Daniel Markovits, Yale Law School

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