chapter  Chapter Four
40 Pages

Operation of the Local Professional Courts

ByJack Spence

This chapter analyzes the functioning of one court’s Audientias Populares. It considers the relationship between the Audiencias Populares (A.P.s) and the demand, latent and actual, for third party dispute processing and examines the kinds of people who used the A.P.s and the types of disputes they brought. The chapter analyzes the handling of disputes in the A.P.s: procedural practices, exercise of authority within the courtroom, manner of defining disputes, and attempted resolutions of disputes. It also considers how various factors shaped the procedural characteristics of dispute hearing, led toward certain types of dispute outcomes, and tended to eliminate others. The chapter describes the overall performance of the A.P.s synthesizing the two halves and evaluating the success and potential of the program. It explores the effectiveness of the A.P.s, through an examination of the dimensions of their dispute processing and by illustration of a variety of types of case hearings.