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SOC 3730 (78)
Lecture 6

Week 6 Readings.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 3730
Michelle Dumas

Week 6 Readings – SOC3730 – Chapter 10 McCormick Chapter 10: Winning and Losing in Canada’s Courts Party Capability in Trial Courts! - not every person takes things to court - Wanner found that 10 types of action were litigated frequently: o Collection of delinquent debts, money damages for breach of contract, liens of various kinds, divorce-related, personal injury and property damage torts, foreclosures, evictions, administrative agency appeals, etc. o Business organizations were the most frequent plaintiffs o Most defendants usually individuals and male o Found plaintiffs succeeded outright 50% of the time o Organizations more efficient litigators – their cases were cleared in less than half the time it took for individual-initiated cases - Legal representation makes a difference – parties who have lawyers do better (Galanter) - Having a lawyer does not even the odds for several related reasons: o 1) organizations are more likely to be represented than individuals o 2) lawyers who represent organizations do so on a regular basis and help develop long-term strategies that repeat players use o 3) lawyers who present “one-shot” clients tend to be clustered in the lower echelons of the profession - Four Different types of litigation o Type I: Cases involving two “one-shotters” – tend to involve either divorces or between parties with some ongoing tie o Type II: “the great bulk of litigation” and involves a repeat player plaintiff against a one-shotter defendant o Type III: “one –shotter” plaintiffs challenging “repeat player” defendants – unusual and usually unsuccessful o Type IV: litigation involving two repeat performers – tends to be unusual - Wanner and Galanter suggest that given the way the system operates, the trial courts are really a forum in which advantaged groups invoke a status quo that embodies and reinforces their advantage, while disadvantaged groups confront the impartial enforcement of their disadvantage Party Capability in the Courts of Appeal! - some types of litigants (like trial courts) win more often than others - same principles that Wanner and Galanter applied in trial courts, can usefully be applied to appeal courts - party capability theory applied to the courts of appeal leads to the expectation that governments will do better than other parties – senior levels of gov’t will do better than municipal counterparts - government was the most successful as both appellant and respondent;
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