Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Theodore Eisenberg and Giovanni B. Ramello
Chapter 16: Comparative judicial efficiency: Examining case disposition in five countries’ courts of last resort
Ideally, decisions by governmental officials should maximize efficiency. In other words, they should reflect an equilibrium point that tries to maximize the quality of the outcome while minimizing costs and disposition times. While all of these aspects of efficiency are important, we focus primarily on the latter for a variety of reasons. For example, the swift administration of fair and equitable justice is a hallmark of good governance. As the institutions charged with impartially meting out justice, courts, and the judges who comprise them, have an awesome duty. It is for this reason that law and courts have drawn the interest of scholarly research assessing the extent to which a wide array of factors might impact the quality of judicial decisions. In the context of American appellate courts, scholars have conducted in-depth analyses to measure judicial quality and effectiveness with a wide array of metrics including mixed-outcome decisions (Lindquist, Haire, and Songer, 2007); issue agenda (Songer, Sheehan, and Haire, 2000); party advantage (Clermont and Eisenberg, 2002); the impact of ideology (Hettinger, Lindquist, and Martinek, 2004) and presidential appointment (Giles, Hettinger, and Peppers, 2001); precedent (Cross, 2007); statutes (Randazzo, Waterman, and Fine, 2006); litigant resources (Songer, Sheehan, and Haire, 1999); and judge gender, race (Collins and Moyer, 2008), and tenure (Kaheny, Haire, and Benesh, 2008).
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