Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Science And Law Team Up On Legal Reform Proposal

Date:
December 22, 1998
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A Purdue University physicist and a political science professor have proposed an new way to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits that are choking the court system.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A Purdue University physicist and a political science professor have proposed an new way to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits that are choking the court system.

In the American judicial system, plaintiffs and defendants almost always pay their own expenses, no matter which side wins the case. By contrast, most other countries operate under a variant of the "British rule," where the losing party pays the legal fees of the winning party.

"This 'cost-shifting' is a major factor in reducing the per capita litigation costs in Europe compared with the United States," says Ephraim Fischbach, professor of physics at Purdue. "But both systems have major drawbacks. While the American system does little to curb frivolous lawsuits, the British system works at a disadvantage to parties with fewer resources."

Fischbach and William McLauchlan, associate professor of political science, have come up with a new approach called reverse cost-shifting. The basic idea is that the losing party in a civil case pays the court a fine that is a multiple of its own expenses.

"The novel feature of reverse cost-shifting is that although it imposes a financial penalty on the losing party, the amount of the penalty is completely under control of the losing party," Fischbach says. "If you've got a frivolous case with little chance of winning, you'll think twice about initiating that case if you know you'll have to pay a penalty."

Fischbach and McLauchlan's proposal appears in the fall issue of the John Marshall Law Review, Vol. 32, issue No. 1.

Fischbach relied on mathematical equations and probability -- tools he normally reserves for his physics research -- to show the benefits of the reverse cost-shifting plan. For example, the proposal assumes that the probability of winning a case depends on the amount of money you spend.

While the court of opinion is still out on the idea, Fischbach and McLauchlan have gotten some positive feedback from judges, attorneys and the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.

McLauchlan says: "This system effectively tilts the legal playing field in favor of the party with the more meritorious case, regardless of whether that party is big or small, plaintiff or defendant. Also, because the penalty is paid directly to the court, parties who actually use the court system would be paying for it, reducing the tax burden on the general public."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Science And Law Team Up On Legal Reform Proposal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981222080421.htm>.
Purdue University. (1998, December 22). Science And Law Team Up On Legal Reform Proposal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981222080421.htm
Purdue University. "Science And Law Team Up On Legal Reform Proposal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981222080421.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

AFP (Sep. 21, 2014) — SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship blasts off toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies and science experiments for the astronauts living there. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's MAVEN To Study Martian Atmosphere

NASA's MAVEN To Study Martian Atmosphere

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — NASA's Maven will soon give information that could explain what happened to Mars' atmosphere. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins