Comparing Courts and Tribunals Through the Lens of Legal Participation

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This article argues that participation is a core element of procedural justice but that there is a need to understand better what legal participation means to litigants in court hearings. The empirical data on tribunal users’ experiences of participation have underpinned a model of legal participation, helping to articulate what procedural justice looks like for this population. Using the lens of legal participation developed through this conceptual tool, the article argues that the focus on participation as a core element of procedural justice in legal proceedings can be used to illuminate the theoretical arguments about what distinguishes courts from tribunals. The concept of legal participation, therefore, provides a way to reorient academic studies of courts and tribunals to provide a new prism to distinguish justice processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-236
Number of pages20
JournalCivil Justice Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 10 Apr 2020


  • legal participation
  • courts
  • tribunals
  • litigants in person
  • fair trial
  • procedural justice
  • administrative justice


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