Special Masters in Institutional Litigation

Samuel Jan Brakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Litigation concerning conditions in institutions such as prisons or mental hospitals does not stop at the issuance of a remedial decree. Steps must be taken to assure implementation. Increasingly, the courts are resorting to special masters to assist them in implementing such institutional reform. While the use of masters by courts is a firmly established tradition, the role assigned to masters in the institutional context is often an extraordinarily broad and intrusive one. As a result, serious questions have arisen about this new extra‐traditional master role and about the applicability, the sufficiency, of the traditional rationales and restraints. This article is among the first in a small but developing body of literature that begins to examine the new master role and the questions concerning it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-569
Number of pages27
JournalLaw & Social Inquiry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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