Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Oral Proceedings in Latin America

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Judicial reform has never been easy. But in countries across the hemisphere, the once-familiar closed-door deliberations are being replaced by oral proceedings. The idea is simple: open courtrooms boost transparency and fairness. In all, 15 Latin American countries have attempted to introduce oral proceedings for criminal cases between 1994 and 2008.

Latin Americans have long been skeptical of judicial systems and courts. According to the 2007 Latinobarómetro report, only 22 percent of the region’s population believes that all citizens have equal access to the justice system—a percentage that has remained constant since 2000. That number dips to as low as 8 percent in Peru and 10 percent in Argentina. A 2007 Gallup poll reveals similar skepticism, with 58 percent of the Mexican public surveyed expressing a lack of confidence in the judiciary and courts.

Generating confidence in the judicial system is crucial for democracy and for economic development…

Tags: Access to Justice System, Cristian Riego, Judicial Reform, Justice Studies Center of the Americas
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