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Socially Optimal Criminal Court Waiting Times: A Partial Investigation

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Abstract

Criminal courts provide a forum for conducting prosecutions with a guilty plea or a trial. Since queues are used as the basis for rationing scarce court facilities delays are inevitable, however courts are invariably criticised as being inefficient as a consequence. This focus on court delay defined as the time elapsing between the listing of the case in the court list and its final disposition is misleading. Rather, attention should be drawn to the considerably longer period between the initiation of proceedings and the conclusion of the case. In the case of defendants not granted bail, this pre-trial delay confers both costs and benefits on society and this observation can be used to ascertain socially optimal pre-trial waits.

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File URL: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/workingpapers/papers/2008_15eco.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in its series Economics Series with number 2008_15.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 25 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2008_15

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Keywords: Socially optimal waits; Pre-trial delay; Court delay;

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  1. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
  2. Landes, William M, 1971. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 61-107, April.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lode Vereeck & Manuela Mühl, 2000. "An Economic Theory of Court Delay," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 243-268, November.
  5. Posner, Richard A, 1987. "The Law and Economics Movement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 1-13, May.
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