chapter
7 Pages

Introduction

ByJack Spence

During 1971, the first year of the Allende government in Chile, several squatter settlements established their own Neighborhood Courts with elected laypersons serving as judges. The kinds of conflicts within each of the social relationships were similarly varied, including marital disputes, propertv claims based on alleged tortious or contractual violations, assaults, slander, and long-standing multiplex arguments. The effects of the broader context began to be apparent upon exploration of the reasons for and origins of a national system of lay staffed Neighborhood Tribunals proposed early in the Allende government and later withdrawn. The court system was legally independent. Its independence from other branches of government, and the power of the Supreme Court within the bureaucracy tended to be reinforced by the manner of selection and the system of promotion. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.