In Japan, the quasi-legal profession of judicial scriveners (shihō-shoshi) traditionally prepared documents for litigants to file with courts but did not have the right to represent them in courts. As part of the justice system reform, from April 2003, shihō-shoshi who took an induction course, passed a certification examination and obtained the Justice Minister’s certification are permitted to represent litigants in Summary Court civil lawsuits. Such work used to be monopolised by the full-fledged legal profession of bengoshi. The reform aimed at enhancing the public’s accessibility to legal service. However, has the change really achieved this objective? Has the objective been attained by another change under the reform: a substantial expansion of the bengoshi population? To examine the justifiability and value of the expansion of shihō-shoshi’s permitted scope of practice, this paper empirically investigates the post-reform situation of the two professions, Summary Court civil litigation, and legal representation in such lawsuits.
- legal market
- quasi-legal profession