Front Page Titles (by Subject) Justice in the Market - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
Justice in the Market - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1979, vol. 2, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Justice in the Market
“Justice, Inc.: A Proposal for a Profit-Making Court.” Juris Doctor (March 1978): 32–36.
The remedy for the interrelated problems of securing justice through governmental courts—congestion, delays, high costs, and unfairness—may well be a competitive “free-enterprise court system” operated by private judges on the principles of voluntarism and cost-effectiveness.
Statistics confirm that American federal and state court systems are not efficient institutions to mete out justice fairly and equally to all would-be litigants. In the United States there is only one federal judge for every 1,000 attorneys. At any one time, the average federal district court judge handles around 600 civil and criminal cases. Under this congestion, the courts must terminate without trial 91 percent of all federal civil cases. Under the government court system many deserving civil cases never get tried, thus depriving the plaintiff of his constitutional right to trial. The government monopoly in dispensing justice leads to rationing justice. The “uncertainty, delay, and excessive costs attributable to our inefficient system of justice” disrupt individual lives and prevent the economy from growing at its full potential.
To cure the many inconveniences of government courts, the author recommends a free market court system called the National Private Court (NPC), which would guarantee a three-month time limit for litigation; allow parties to select those judges best qualified to hear their suit; follow federal rules of evidence and civil procedure; and permit one appeal.
The NPC would have the advantage over binding arbitration of not running the risk of unwanted compromises; the NPC would surpass the quality of litigation in congested government courts because “the parties pay for and get the amount of skilled judicial services they need from judges experienced in the field.” The profit motive would also insure fairness from the private judges since they can be expected to treat attorneys fairly if they wish to be rehired in other matters or suits. The NPC, by removing economic restrictions against justice, would allow hiring expert witnesses on a contingency-fee basis and selling shares in civil actions to permit indigent litigants to afford bringing suit.
Equality and Social Justice
In the modern world, the protean ideal of equality—in our legal, social, political, and economic institutions—has inspired many heterogenous movements including the French Revolution, the American Revolution [see Literature of Liberty 1 (April/June 1978): 5–39], classical liberalism's reforms, and the contemporary, proliferating “liberation” movement. Robert M. Hutchins and Mortimer Adler in their analysis of “The Idea of Equality” (in The Great Ideas Today/1968. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1968) have shown how elusive and debated are the political and social meanings of equality. The following summaries corroborate the elusiveness of equality. Important issues treated include: the relationship between freedom and equality, the contested notion of the “New Equality,” the rival definitions of equality advanced by John Rawls and Robert Nozick, educational equality, and the understanding of social justice and equality in Adam Smith and Alexis de Tocqueville. Finally, with David Miller's concluding summary, we see one explanation of how classical liberalism's understanding of equality of opportunity shifted to the later more egalitarian interpretations of this crucial idea.