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Legal Accents, Legal Borrowing:
The International Problem-Solving Court Movement
James L. Nolan, Jr.

Paperback | 2011 | $31.95 | £26.95 | ISBN: 9780691150147
264 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 2 line illus.
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A wide variety of problem-solving courts have been developed in the United States over the past two decades and are now being adopted in countries around the world. These innovative courts--including drug courts, community courts, domestic violence courts, and mental health courts--do not simply adjudicate offenders. Rather, they attempt to solve the problems underlying such criminal behaviors as petty theft, prostitution, and drug offenses. Legal Accents, Legal Borrowing is a study of the international problem-solving court movement and the first comparative analysis of the development of these courts in the United States and the other countries where the movement is most advanced: England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Looking at the various ways in which problem-solving courts have been taken up in these countries, James Nolan finds that while importers often see themselves as adapting the American courts to suit local conditions, they may actually be taking in more aspects of American law and culture than they realize or desire. In the countries that adopt them, problem-solving courts may in fact fundamentally challenge traditional ideas about justice. Based on ethnographic research in all six countries, the book examines these cases of legal borrowing for what they reveal about legal and cultural differences, the inextricable tie between law and culture, the processes of globalization, the unique but contested global role of the United States, and the changing face of law and justice around the world.


"Nolan takes an ethnographic approach to the study of alternative courts to counter the idea that law can simply be transplanted, unchanged, from one environment to another. . . . Nolan does an excellent job of exploring how culture affects legal borrowing, and his work is of considerable value both to scholars of comparative law and to judges, lawyers, and other practitioners who deal with legal change."--Choice

"The scope of this work is truly impressive as Nolan makes multiple visits to England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Canada to examine more than 50 courts, conducting hundreds of interviews and observations. The result is a well-researched, well-told, well-analyzed, sometimes humorous account. . . . As in his earlier work, Nolan brilliantly combines theory and empirical research. . . . This book makes a tremendous contribution."--Rekha Mirchandani, Law & Society Review

"[T]his is a necessary and useful book for readers who study problem-solving courts, especially those that track the development as well as the internalization of the movement surrounding the growth of these courts. Those interested in how law and culture can or cannot be successfully imported will also benefit from reading Legal Accents. Most specifically, critics of American cultural imperialism--regardless of interest in problem-solving courts--should read this book. . . . For readers in all these categories, I definitely recommend Legal Accents as a must-read. For others, the book still belongs to the book shelf space containing ready references about noteworthy subjects."--Salmon A. Shomade, Law & Politics Book Review

"Nolan's research is an unmatched contribution to the nascent field of knowledge concerning [problem-solving courts]. . . . His rich court observations are coupled with fascinating data gleaned from interviews with judges and other court officials."--Dawn Moore, Punishment & Society


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Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
CHAPTER ONE: Problem Solving and Courts of Law 7
CHAPTER TWO: Law and Culture in Comparative Perspective 24
CHAPTER THREE: Anglo-American Alternatives: England and the United States 43
CHAPTER FOUR: Commonwealth Contrasts: Canada and Australia 76
CHAPTER FIVE: Devolution and Difference: Scotland and Ireland 109
CHAPTER SIX: American Exceptionalism 136
CHAPTER SEVEN: Ambivalent Anti-Americanism 157
CHAPTER EIGHT: Building Confidence, Justifying Justice 179
Notes 197
Selected References 235
Index 243

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