Do Delays in Civil Cases Depend on the Number of Laws? A Theoretical and Empirical Study

27 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2007 Last revised: 24 Dec 2007

Giuseppe DiVita

University of Catania - Department of Economics and Business

Date Written: June 22, 2007

Abstract

In this paper we attempt to explain the slowness of civil contentiousness in terms of excessive laws production. To this aim we have build a simple model and performed an empirical analysis. The main intuition behind the theoretical framework is that the greater the number of laws in force at the same time, most of them coming from different institutions, make more difficult to obtain a decision from the court. In this case, the judge has to exert a considerable effort to decide the case, in terms of individuation of law applicable and of coordination among different laws, to produce a sentence. Thus he may have a strong incentive to delay the moment of decision. Based on our case study, conducted by using Italian data, it is possible to affirm that the complexity level of legal system, especially if the laws come from different sources, may contribute to explain the excessive duration of civil disputes

Keywords: Decision delay, Imperfect information, Index of legislation complexity, Justice services rationing, Judge incentives

JEL Classification: K4, D82, C1

Suggested Citation

DiVita, Giuseppe, Do Delays in Civil Cases Depend on the Number of Laws? A Theoretical and Empirical Study (June 22, 2007). 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=996031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.996031

Giuseppe DiVita (Contact Author)

University of Catania - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Corso Italia no. 55
Catania 95129, Catania
Italy
+39 95 230335 (Phone)
+39 95 321654 (Fax)

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