The Rationale for Motions in the Design of Adjudication

50 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2018 Last revised: 1 Jan 2023

See all articles by Steven Shavell

Steven Shavell

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The conduct of adjudication is often influenced by motions––requests made by litigants to modify the course of adjudication. The question studied in this article is why adjudication is designed so as to permit the use of motions. The answer developed is that litigants will naturally know a great deal about their specific matter, whereas a court will ordinarily know little except to the degree that the court has already invested effort to appreciate it. By giving litigants the right to bring motions, the judicial system leads litigants to efficiently provide information to courts that is relevant to the adjudicative process.

Suggested Citation

Shavell, Steven, The Rationale for Motions in the Design of Adjudication (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24703, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198004

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