How Litigants Evaluate the Characteristics of Legal Procedures: A Multi-Court Empirical Study
50 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 9, 2016
This Article presents findings from the first multi-court field study examining how civil litigants evaluate the characteristics of legal procedures shortly after their cases are filed in state court. Analyses revealed that litigants evaluated the characteristics in terms of control — i.e., whether the characteristics granted relative control to the litigants themselves or to third parties (e.g., mediators, judges). Although the litigants indicated a desire to be present for the resolution process, they preferred third-party control to litigant control. They also wanted third parties to control the process more than the outcome. Gender, age group, and case-type significantly predicted attraction to third-party control, whereas attraction to litigant control was predicted by whether litigants had a pre-existing relationship with each other, how much they valued a future relationship with the opposing party, party type, the type of opposing party, and court location. Implications for legal policy and lawyering are discussed.
Keywords: courts, procedure, procedural justice, ADR, psychology, litigation, decision-making, litigants, control, process
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