Economies that score well on the ease of enforcing contracts keep courts efficient by introducing case management, strict procedural time limits and specialized commercial courts or e-courts; by streamlining appeals; and by making enforcement of judgments faster and cheaper (table 10.1).Most reforms took place in Eastern Europe and Central Asia- in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania. Among OECD high-income economies, Austria, Belgium and Portugal reformed. In Africa, Mozambique and Rwanda did. In South Asia, Bhutan was the only economy that improved its courts in 2007/08. In East Asia, China was the only reformer. The Middle East and North Africa had no reforms.In Rwanda specialized commercial courts started operating in May 2008. Three lower commercial courts- in Kigali and in the Northern and Southern Provinces- cover commercial disputes with a value below about $37,000. A fourth commercial court, attached to the high court, handles cases above that value in addition to appeals of decisions from the 3 lower courts. Commercial courts not only resolve disputes faster; they also bring the needed expertise to commercial cases.Specialized commercial courts are often criticized because they deal only with the financially most important cases. Those in Tanzania, for example, accept only cases with a value 66 times income per capita. In Zambia it is 15 times income per capita. Minimum thresholds can be justified as a way to avoid overloading newly established specialized courts. But a balance must be struck between access to justice and a reasonable caseload for the new courts. A pragmatic approach is to lower minimum thresholds as courts are gradually able to accept more cases. This is better than having courts inundated with cases from the start.
Tan, a litigation lawyer in Singapore, does not mind waiting at the supreme court until his case is called. A computer screen shows the expected wait time for each case. And a text message on his cell phone will alert him when the judge is ready to hear his. Meanwhile, he reviews his oral arguments and enjoys a nice lunch at Academy Bistro, located in the supreme court building.Tan and his clients can afford to relax, because they know their cases will be resolved expeditiously. In Singapore it takes only 150 days to resolve a commercial dispute- faster than anywhere else in the world.Not everyone bringing a commercial dispute to court can expect similar efficiency. One common obstacle to doing busines...
Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content not included in vLex Global Academic product.