Access to Justice: An Objective Or Incidental Effect of Class Actions?

AuthorTaylor Sheardown
“Access to Justice: An Objective or Incidental Ef‌fect of
Class Actions?”
Taylor Sheardown
AbstrAct: Access to justice is a foundational principle of our justice sys-
tem, and as such has been held by the courts to be an objective of class
actions that must be considered in every case. This essay explores the way
that access to justice is treated by counsel and evaluates whether access
to justice is really an objective of class actions or more accurately an inci-
dental ef‌fect. It concludes that access to justice is an incidental ef‌fect
because it is taken for granted as the outcome of any given class action.
In other words, it is assumed that just by bringing a class action, access
to justice will follow. The article then examines whether access to justice
is even achieved as an incidental ef‌fect and analyzes some problems that
indicate that access to justice is not being achieved to its fullest extent. It
provides a dual sided analysis by recognizing that based on the current
class action system there are barriers and limitations to the consideration
of access to justice and its attainment. Ultimately, the paper provides an
analysis of some of the problems in relation to access to justice and the
class action system.

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