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12:00pm - Speaker Series: William Hubbard - Law, University of Chicago Law School

  • When: March 11, 2020, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th floor, Lakeside, Chicago, IL 60611

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The Supreme Court of India: Controversy and Reform

The Supreme Court of India has been called “the most powerful court in the world” for its wide jurisdiction, its expansive understanding of its own powers, and the billion-plus people under its authority. Yet, for an institution that exercises immense public power and enjoys a high degree of legitimacy, it suffers from a sense of growing crisis. Critics question the Court’s commitments to judicial independence and access to justice for the common person. Elite lawyers wield disproportionate influence over the Court’s decisionmaking. And the Court’s docket is notorious for chronic delays.

Popular critiques of the Supreme Court of India have proceeded largely uninformed by quantitative data about what the Court is actually doing. In this talk, I present work (co-authored with Sital Kalantry and Aparna Chandra) that brings extensive data to the study of the Court. We confirm some popular critiques and rebut others. More importantly, we show how the Court’s controversies about independence, access to justice, lawyer influence, and delay are closely related. The common sources for these problems suggest possible paths toward reform.

Photo and Bio Courtesy of the University of Chicago

William H. J. Hubbard received his JD with high honors from the Law School in 2000, where he was executive editor of the Law Review. He clerked for the Hon. Patrick E. Higginbotham of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. From 2001 to 2006, he practiced law as a litigation associate at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago, where he specialized in commercial litigation, electronic discovery, and appellate practice. From 2006 to 2011, he completed the PhD program in Economics at the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty in 2011, he was a Kauffman Legal Research Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the Law School.

Mr. Hubbard currently serves as an editor of the Journal of Legal Studies. He teaches courses in civil procedure and has been an organizer for the Law and Economics Workshop. His current research primarily involves economic analysis of litigation, courts, and civil procedure. Other research interests include family, education, and labor economics.

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