SUGAWARA Ikue Nagoya University, Graduate School of Law, Professor, 大学院・法学研究科, 教授 (90162859)
ABE Masaki Osaka City University, Graduate School of Law, Professor, 大学院・法学研究科, 教授 (10244625)
OTSUKA Hiroshi Nara Women's University, Faculty of Human Life and Environment, Associate Professor, 生活環境学部, 助教授 (30324958)
|Budget Amount *help
¥7,600,000 (Direct Cost: ¥7,600,000)
Fiscal Year 2005: ¥1,300,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,300,000)
Fiscal Year 2004: ¥4,300,000 (Direct Cost: ¥4,300,000)
Fiscal Year 2003: ¥2,000,000 (Direct Cost: ¥2,000,000)
One of the major causes of difficulties in people's obtaining appropriate legal services when they need is the uneven distribution of legal service providers--lawyers, judicial scribners, courts, or various legal consultation services. It is known that legal service providers, especially lawyers, are concentrated in larger cities and the residents in smaller cities, towns or villages experience a massive difficulty to finding one in their geographically proxy areas. This raises the question: how are legal disputes are resolved in less metropolitan areas of Japan? Strangely, the discussions on eneven distribution of legal services among cities and towns have been almost exclusively focusing on the seer number of lawyers. To design a more effective delivery system, however, it is necessary to know what happens in the less metropolitan areas and how the situation is coped with by the residents necessary using the locally available measures. It is also important to know how the legal servi
ce providersas well as the residents perceive the needs of legal services. The present study seeks to gain a realistic picture of how the legal disputes are coped with in these areas by combining the methods of case study and opinioin survey.
The research group conducted the case study research in such rural areas as Tango(Kyoto), Iwami (Shimane), Miyako (Okinawa) and Ishigaki (Okinawa) in 2003. Our researcher visited the area and conducted the interviews with local lawyers, city hall officials, judicial scribners, courts, police, consumer protection offices. Benefited by the small number of available legal remedies, the interviews and observations are conducted with large proportion of local alternatives to access the law. In 200.1., the research group conducted a cross-sectional opinion survey in 6 cities in less metroplitan areas--Goshogawara (Aomori), Nihohe (Iwate), Mineyama (Kyoto), Gojo (Nara), Iki (Nagasaki),Ishigaki(Okinawa). The questionaire asking opinions on law and related subjects were sent to 6,000 residents (1,000 for each city) and obtaind the answer from 1,783 residents from 6 cities( Response rate being 29,7%). A graduate student in the reserch group stayed for a while as a resident in Ishigaki and conducted an in-depth observation of local attitudes and behaviors.The group also held a series of meetings inviting lawyers and other service providers to discuss the local situations. A micro-analysis of communication of law in legal consultation was also conducted utilising the method of conversation alalysis.
The case studies revealed that (1)the digree and direction of immersion of newly arrived lawyer in community life differ significantly in areas, one of the reason of local variety is (1a) importance of personal relationship in local life, (1b) different availability of legal service providers already existed in the area, among others. The study revealed also (2)the lawyers and judges are sensitive to local custums corresponding the law (firendship based financing, transaction of land etc) and sometimes complain that the local customs make the straightforward application of law difficult. Thus there are interesting cleverage between legal service providers and community, and city officials in legal consultation services being a broker of legal consciousnes between them. The opinion survey revealed the pattern of some correspondence with the case study results. (1)It is not apparent, at least with preliminary analysis of the resutls, that 6 cities differ each other in term of opinions toward the law and related subjects. (2)Contrary to the popularly accepted view of popular dislike to law in Japanese life, the law and legal service providers (especially lawyers) are regarded important, trustworthy and effective. (3)The local residents consult with lawyers more frequently than the reserach group expected, though it is not clear whethere they turn to local lawyers or lawyers outside town. The preliminary results are presented at a mini-symposium at 2006 Annual Meeting of Japan Sociology of Law Association and at many other academic meetings. The group is preparing for results to publishe in English in the near future. Less