The Duration of Judicial Deliberation: Evidence from Belgium
41 Pages Posted: 25 May 2016
Date Written: May 23, 2016
We utilize case-level data from a large Belgian court to study a policy-relevant but thus far empirically unexplored aspect of judicial behavior: the time that a judge takes to deliberate on a case before rendering a verdict. Exploiting the de facto random administrative assignment of filed cases among the serving judges and using survival analysis methods, we find that the duration of judicial deliberation varies not only with measures of case complexity, but also with judge and disputing party characteristics. We further find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that longer judicial deliberation improves the quality of judicial decisions.
Keywords: judicial deliberation, case-level data, survival analysis, speed-quality tradeoff, Belgium
JEL Classification: K40, K41, K49
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