…from the quill of Antisthenes
The question of how and why legal systems work (or not) certainly is not an appropriate subject for a short article by an amateur. Still, if I may be so bold and simplify the issue – generally, according to the English based common law, in a civil suit the loser pays the legal costs of the winner. A potential plaintiff has to weight his chances carefully before instigating a legal action. In fact, a person ought to consider carefully the consequences before taking any serious step. I can’t imagine why a reasonable person would object to that. Prescient American lawyers did, so (generally) the principle “loser pays” does not apply in the United States jurisdictions. It is like betting in a casino without a cent in your pocket and not having to worry about losing. Talk about the access to the courts which otherwise poor people would not have is just that – talk. Yes, there are lawyers who do fight just for justice and don’t care about money… out there somewhere; and usually they can’t afford TV advertisements.
It is interesting, but not surprising, that it is Texas, not the “progressive” California, which leads the way in a law reform. The illiterate southern red-necks i.e. Republicans, started this in 2003, and now they are going to make people who lose a lawsuit responsible for the legal costs of a winner. Additionally, even the winners could end up paying, if the court award is less than the amount offered during preliminary negotiations. Naturally, the Democrats are up in arms. I guess that there are equal numbers of lawyers in both parties, but it seems that the so-called ‘trial’ lawyers donate to the Democrats more. It is the original pro-slavery party, after all. By the way, The Economist, always on the side of the greedy, also doesn’t like the idea. Frivolous lawsuits? What frivolous lawsuits? Where would the world end if people were held responsible for their decisions?
(R.Kipling wrote in 1919 – “…and the brave new world begins, when all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins…”)