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The impact of the number of courts on the demand for trials


  • Nathalie Chappe

    () (CRESE, Université de Franche-comté)

  • Marie Obidzinski

    () (CRESE, Université de Franche-comté)


The recent reforms of the "judicial map" in Europe have drastically reduced the number of courts, raising fears of a decline in access to justice. This paper addresses this issue through a litigation model within a Salop (1979) model. We assume that victims of accidents differ both in terms of compensatory damages expected and in terms of distance from court. Due to distance costs, it might be too expensive to file cases for some victims with low expected awards. Therefore, the demand for trials is reduced by a decrease in the number of courts when the probability of an accident is exogenous. However, the link between the number of courts and the demand for trials is not clear cut when the probability of an accident occurring is determined by the defendant through his level of care. Furthermore, we determine the optimal number of courts.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathalie Chappe & Marie Obidzinski, 2013. "The impact of the number of courts on the demand for trials," Working Papers 2013-01, CRESE.
  • Handle: RePEc:crb:wpaper:2013-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    2. Gravelle, H. S. E., 1990. "Rationing trials by waiting: Welfare implications," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 255-270, December.
    3. Brekke, Kurt R. & Siciliani, Luigi & Straume, Odd Rune, 2008. "Competition and waiting times in hospital markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1607-1628, July.
    4. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1988. "The deterrent effects of settlements and trials," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 109-116, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Friehe Tim & Miceli Thomas J., 2017. "A Note on Trial Delay and Social Welfare: The Impact of Multiple Equilibria," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Romain Espinosa & Claudine Desrieux & Hengrui Wan, 2017. "Fewer courts, less justice? Evidence from the 2008 French reform of labor courts," Post-Print halshs-01634211, HAL.

    More about this item


    litigation; number of courts; distance costs; access to justice;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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