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Deterrence vs Judicial Error: A Comparative View of Standards of Proof

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  • Dominique Demougin
  • Claude Fluet

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Abstract

We argue that the common law standard of proof, given the rules of evidence, does not minimize expected error as usually argued in the legal literature, but may well be efficient from the standpoint of providing maximal incentives for socially desirable behavior. By contrast, civil law's higher but somewhat imprecise standard may be interpreted as reflecting a tradeoff between providing incentives and avoiding judicial error per se. In our model, the optimal judicial system has rules resembling those in the common law when providing incentives is paramount. When greater weight is given to avoiding error, the optimal system has civilian features. Nous argumentons que le standard de preuve en common law, compte tenu des contraintes de recevabilité en matière de preuve, n'a pas pour effet de minimiser l'erreur attendue comme le soutient la littérature juridique, mais qu'il peut être efficient d'un point de vue incitatif. Par comparaison, le standard de preuve plus fort mais imprécis des pays de droit codifié peut s'interpréter comme résultant d'un arbitrage entre minimisation des erreurs et effets incitatifs. Dans notre modèle, le système légal optimal a des règles ressemblant à celle de la common law quand les préoccupations incitatives sont primordiales. Lorsqu'une plus grande importance est attachée à l'élimination des erreurs de justice, le système optimal a des caractéristiques proches des systèmes de droit codifié.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2004s-38.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2004s-38

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Keywords: standard of proof; burden of proof; common law; civil law; evidentiary; standard de preuve; charge de la preuve; common law; droit civil; règles de preuve;

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References

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  1. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2002. "Preponderance of Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 725, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Claude Fluet, 2002. "Enforcing Contracts: Should Courts Seek the Truth?," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-76, CIRANO.
  3. Davis, Michael L, 1994. "The Value of Truth and the Optimal Standard of Proof in Legal Disputes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 343-59, October.
  4. Daniel L. Rubinfeld & David E.M. Sappington, 1987. "Efficient Awards and Standards of Proof in Judicial Proceedings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 308-315, Summer.
  5. Shavell, S., 1986. "The judgment proof problem," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 45-58, June.
  6. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1989. "Legal Error, Litigation, and the Incentive to Obey the Law," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 99-108, Spring.
  7. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1999. "The Conflict between Notions of Fairness and the Pareto Principle," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 63-77, Fall.
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Cited by:
  1. Joan Ramon Borrell & Juan Luis Jiménez, 2008. "The drivers of antitrust effectiveness," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 185(2), pages 69-88, July.
  2. Antonio Nicita & Matteo Rizzolli, 2012. "In Dubio Pro Reo. Behavioral explanations of pro-defendant bias in procedures," Department of Economics University of Siena 637, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  3. Christoph Engel, 2008. "Preponderance of the Evidence versus Intime Conviction. A Behavioural Perspective on a Conflict between American and Continental European Law," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_33, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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