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.

Related Articles


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 December 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


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