Does Discovery Promote Settlement? - An Empirical Answer
47 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2007 Last revised: 30 Jun 2011
Date Written: September 29, 2007
Law and Economics scholars fiercely debate the question whether discovery promotes settlement. Yet, no empirical study has ever been conducted in the United States, where the discovery system has traditionally been one of the most distinguishing features of its civil justice system, to answer this question. This article reports the result of an independent empirical study designed to test discovery's effect on facilitating settlement by using the official data on more than 175,000 civil cases terminated in Taiwan from 1996 to 2006. As a member of the continental system, Taiwan introduced the concept of discovery into its civil procedure in the 2000 reform. This empirical study shows that the settlement rate for civil cases in all the district courts indeed has increased consistently over time since Taiwan adopted the discovery system. This article argues that Taiwan's successful experience does provide strong evidence to support the theoretical prediction that the continental system can enhance its settlement rate by introducing discovery into its civil procedure.
Keywords: civil procedure, discovery, settlement, economic analysis of law, the continental system
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