Adjudication is usually understood as having two functions: dispute resolution and law declaration. This Article presents the process of litigation as a third, equally important function and explains how in litigation, participants perform rule of law values. Performativity in litigation operates in five ways. First, litigation allows individuals, even the most downtrodden, to obtain recognition from a governmental officer (a judge) of their claims. Second, it promotes the production of reasoned arguments about legal questions and presentation of proofs in public, subject to cross examination and debate. Third, it promotes transparency by forcing information required to present proofs and arguments to be revealed. Fourth, it aids in the enforcement of the law in two ways: by requiring wrongdoers to answer for their conduct to the tribunal and by revealing information that is used by other actors to enforce or change existing regulatory regimes. And fifth, litigation enables citizens to serve as adjudicators on juries.
Alexandra D. Lahav,
The Roles of Litigation in American Democracy,
Emory L. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/elj/vol65/iss6/12