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The Rule Incentives that Rule Civil Justice


  • Daniela Marchesi

    (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses)


The excessive length of civil judicial proceedings may be understood being the consequence of a disequilibrium between demand and supply of justice. A comparison between EU countries and a statistical and analytical investigation demonstrates that the problems do not rest in insufficient supply – which has been the general opinion – but in pathological demand for civil justice. Opportunistic behaviour incentivized by the procedural rules and by the excessive length of trials is at the root of such demand. Therefore changing the formula which determines lawyer’s fees should be the first reform introduced.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Marchesi, 2007. "The Rule Incentives that Rule Civil Justice," ISAE Working Papers 85, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  • Handle: RePEc:isa:wpaper:85

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Chang, Howard F, 1996. "An Analysis of Fee Shifting Based on the Margin of Victory: On Frivolous Suits, Meritorious Suits, and the Role of Rule 11," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 371-403, June.
    2. Hughes, James W & Snyder, Edward A, 1995. "Litigation and Settlement under the English and American Rules: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 225-250, April.
    3. Snyder, Edward A & Hughes, James W, 1990. "The English Rule for Allocating Legal Costs: Evidence Confronts Theory," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 345-380, Fall.
    4. Cohen, Mark A., 1992. "The motives of judges: Empirical evidence from antitrust sentencing," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 13-30, March.
    5. Rosenberg, D. & Shavell, S., 1985. "A model in which suits are brought for their nuisance value," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-13, June.
    6. Steven Shavell, 1981. "Suit and Settlement vs. Trial: A Theoretical Analysis under Alternative Methods for the Allocation of Legal Costs," NBER Working Papers 0662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Beckner, Clinton III & Katz, Avery, 1995. "The incentive effects of litigation fee shifting when legal standards are uncertain," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 205-224, June.
    8. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1988. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 437-450, June.
    9. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-1097, September.
    10. Katz, Avery, 1990. "The effect of frivolous lawsuits on the settlement of litigation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 3-27, May.
    11. Gravelle, H. S. E., 1993. "The efficiency implications of cost-shifting rules," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 3-18, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimo Finocchiaro Castro & Calogero Guccio, 2014. "Searching for the source of technical inefficiency in Italian judicial districts: an empirical investigation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 369-391, December.

    More about this item


    Efficiency of civil justice; Comparison among EU countries and the Italian case; Supply of justice; Pathological demand of civil justice; Effectiveness of reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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