The Dynamics of the Legal System

27 Pages Posted: 7 May 2009 Last revised: 30 Mar 2011

See all articles by Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Columbia University - Law School

Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas; Institut Universitaire de France

Bruno Lovat

University of Lorraine - Universite Nancy 2

Date Written: June 24, 2009


We present a dynamic model of noncontractual litigation in which the parties' decision whether to litigate depends on information produced by courts and, vice versa, the courts' involvement in the lawmaking process depends on the cases proposed by the parties. Thereby, we integrate in one model the two main functions of the judiciary (adjudication and lawmaking) and study their interplay. Our model offers a dynamic, cyclical perspective on the evolution of the legal system over time and sheds new light on the causes for high litigation rates and on judge-made law versus statutes.

Keywords: incompleteness of law, litigation, legislation, adjudication, judge-made law

JEL Classification: K10, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe and Deffains, Bruno and Lovat, Bruno, The Dynamics of the Legal System (June 24, 2009). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Forthcoming; Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2009-08. Available at SSRN: or

Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States


Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 05, 75005

Institut Universitaire de France ( email )

103, bld Saint-Michel
75005 Paris

Bruno Lovat

University of Lorraine - Universite Nancy 2 ( email )


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