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Legal Advice about Acts Already Commited

  • Louis Kaplow
  • Steven Shavell

Much legal advice is provided after individuals have committed acts -- when they come before a tribunal -- rather than at the time they decide how to act. This paper considers the effects and social desirability of such legal advice. It is emphasized that 1egl advice tends to reduce expected sanctions, which may encourage acts subject to sanctions. There is, however, no a priort basis for believing that this is socially undesirable, because, among other reasons, it may be possible to raise the level of sanctions to offset their dilution due to legal advice. In addition, legal advice has no general tendency to improve the effectiveness of the legal system through its influence on the information presented to tribunals.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3005.

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Date of creation: Jun 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as International Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 149-159, (1990).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3005
Note: LE
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  1. Shavell, Steven, 1988. "Legal Advice about Contemplated Acts: The Decision to Obtain Advice, Its Social Desirability, and Protection of Confidentiality," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 123-50, January.
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