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The Effect of Rules Shifting Supreme Court Jurisdiction from Mandatory to Discretionary - An Empirical Lesson from Taiwan

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  • Eisenberg, Theodore
  • Huang, Kuo-Chang

Abstract

Theoretical works suggest that granting a supreme court discretion in choosing the cases to be decided on the merits could shift dockets away from traditional case-based adjudication and towards issue-based adjudication. According to this prediction, legislatures can recast supreme courts' roles in society by modifying jurisdictional rules. This study tests this prediction empirically. Using a newly assembled data set on appeals terminated by the Taiwan Supreme Court for the period 1996-2008, we study the effect of jurisdictional-source procedural reform, a switch from mandatory jurisdiction to discretionary jurisdiction in 2003, on the Taiwan Supreme Court's performance. Our study shows that the 2003 reform failed to transform the function of the Court from correcting error to a greater role in leading the development of legal doctrine as intended by the legislature. Our findings suggest that a supreme court can adjust the way it conducts business according to its own preference and the role it defines for itself, which are influenced both by the background against which it operates and the inertia of its members' working habits. Our study informs policy-makers that merely amending procedural rules, without more, is unlikely to change the function of a supreme court. Our findings also suggest that statutorily dictated mandatory jurisdiction may not be implemented by a high court faced with caseload pressure.

Suggested Citation

  • Eisenberg, Theodore & Huang, Kuo-Chang, 2011. "The Effect of Rules Shifting Supreme Court Jurisdiction from Mandatory to Discretionary - An Empirical Lesson from Taiwan," IEL Working Papers 2, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucaiel:2
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    File URL: http://polis.unipmn.it/pubbl/RePEc/uca/ucaiel/iel002.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kornhauser, Lewis A, 1992. "Modeling Collegial Courts. II. Legal Doctrine," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 441-470, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni B. Ramello, 2016. "The past, present and future of comparative law and economics," Chapters,in: Comparative Law and Economics, chapter 1, pages 3-22 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Melcarne Alessandro & Ramello Giovanni B., 2015. "Judicial Independence, Judges’ Incentives and Efficiency," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 149-169, July.
    3. repec:kap:ejlwec:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10657-017-9565-4 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East

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