April 21

This class discussed mediation again. Sometimes there is a reason to look outside the legal system. The legal system is unable to solve certain crisis. These conflicts are “quisi-legal”.

Alternative disputes are useful for family law, plea bargins, community disputes, and gangs. Not useful in domestic violence because of the culture of violence forces women to be silent.

Alternative disputes do not have the threat of force, legal system does. The power of law depends of the power of enforcement. There is the threat of coercion mediation.

In order for the system to work, people must buy into the system.
- Tax system: We pay taxes because we accept the tax system
- People use marijuana because they do not buy into drugs laws. They feel the law is wrong, justifiable to do it.
- Copyrights: don’t follow because there is not punishment

Dispute method may be a better way to address difficult issues
- Drug problems, immigration, racism

Truth and Reconciliation Commision
- Doesn’t always push for justice at first
- Reconginzes problems in the past – doesn’t ignore them
- Acknowledgement and agree on minor compensation
o Worked well in South Africa
o Not so well in Chile, Cambodia, and Zimbabwe
- Some people may get away with terrible acts with slap on wrist
- May not work on racism in the united states – too deeply rooted

9/11 Victim Compensation fund
- Used by companies to avoid lawsuit with the government
- It can never be enough money in fund to fully compensate families
- To go to litigation would be a question of legitimacy

Specific, national problems such as 9/11 show the risk that reliance on the legal system may pose a danger to legitimacy. This would cause people to not “buy into” the system.

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