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On the need for reform of the Portuguese judicial system – Does Data Envelopment Analysis assessment support it?

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  • Santos, Sérgio P.
  • Amado, Carla A.F.

Abstract

The Portuguese judicial system has attracted considerable criticism in recent years and demands for reforms have gained prominence. By using the Data Envelopment Analysis technique and focusing on the performance of 223 Portuguese first instance courts during the period of 2007–2011, this research has found evidence that supports some of this criticism and justifies the calls for reforms, better performance and accountability of the judicial system. In particular, our results found a sector with considerable scope for improvement with less than 16% of the 223 courts analysed making an efficient use of their resources in each year and with only one third of the courts being considered efficient in at least one of the five years assessed. Whilst the results suggest that improvement can be achieved with better case management, scale factors also seem to play an important role in explaining inefficiency, with most of the inefficient courts being smaller than optimal and with smaller courts being, on average, less efficient than larger ones. The existence of a statistically significant relationship between courts׳ efficiency and size was confirmed by the Mann–Whitney test. These results indicate considerable scope for improvement and that some of the planned reforms are timely and seem well targeted. However, the results also suggest that efficiency increases matching peers׳ best practices are not enough to sustainably reduce the prevailing judicial backlog and length of court proceedings in a considerable number of courts. Major changes in the capacity and/or functioning of the Portuguese judicial system might also be required.

Suggested Citation

  • Santos, Sérgio P. & Amado, Carla A.F., 2014. "On the need for reform of the Portuguese judicial system – Does Data Envelopment Analysis assessment support it?," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:47:y:2014:i:c:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.omega.2014.02.007
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Silva, Maria Conceição A., 2018. "Output-specific inputs in DEA: An application to courts of justice in Portugal," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 43-53.
    2. Stefan Voigt, 2016. "Determinants of judicial efficiency: a survey," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 183-208, October.
    3. Victor V. Podinovski & Wan Rohaida Wan Husain, 2017. "The hybrid returns-to-scale model and its extension by production trade-offs: an application to the efficiency assessment of public universities in Malaysia," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 250(1), pages 65-84, March.
    4. Pontus Mattsson & Jonas Månsson & Christian Andersson & Fredrik Bonander, 2018. "A bootstrapped Malmquist index applied to Swedish district courts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 109-139, August.
    5. Falavigna, Greta & Ippoliti, Roberto & Ramello, Giovanni B., 2018. "DEA-based Malmquist productivity indexes for understanding courts reform," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 31-43.
    6. Kadziński, Miłosz & Labijak, Anna & Napieraj, Małgorzata, 2017. "Integrated framework for robustness analysis using ratio-based efficiency model with application to evaluation of Polish airports," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 1-18.
    7. Mattsson, Pontus & Tidanå, Claes, 2019. "Potential efficiency effects of merging the Swedish district courts," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 58-68.
    8. Maria Conceição Portela, 2016. "Output-specific inputs in DEA: an application to courts," Working Papers de Gestão (Management Working Papers) 02, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
    9. Podinovski, Victor V. & Bouzdine-Chameeva, Tatiana, 2016. "On single-stage DEA models with weight restrictions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(3), pages 1044-1050.
    10. Antonio Peyrache & Angelo Zago, 2020. "The (in)efficiency of Justice. An equilibrium analysis of supply policies," CEPA Working Papers Series WP042020, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    11. Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina & Grajzl, Peter & Slavov, Atanas & Zajc, Katarina, 2016. "Courts in a transition economy: Case disposition and the quantity–quality tradeoff in Bulgaria," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 18-38.
    12. Roberto Ippoliti & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2014. "An analysis of how 2002 judicial reorganisation has impacted on the performance of the First Instance Courts (Preture) in Ticino," IdEP Economic Papers 1408, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    13. Ghulam, Yaseen & Jaffry, Shabbar, 2015. "Efficiency and productivity of the cement industry: Pakistani experience of deregulation and privatisation," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 101-115.
    14. Peyrache, Antonio & Zago, Angelo, 2016. "Large courts, small justice!," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 42-56.

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