Collaborative Research Networks

CRN10  Civil Justice and Disputing Behavior


Shozo Ota

This CRN focuses on the empirical study of disputing behavior both within the context of civil justice systems and outside the formal justice system framework. The CRN has a broad focus that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The study of the incidence of, and response to, justiciable problems by individuals.
  • The study of defendant behavior: particularly in the area of torts (or the equivalent) most contemporary research has focused on the tort victims and their lawyers. There are many questions that need to be examined about how tort defendants and their insurers respond to and process claims. Similarly, there are many questions to be asked about defendants in other areas, whether the area is discrimination, anti-trust, securities, or something else.
  • The study of disputing institutions: how do different third parties—courts, tribunals, administrative agencies, arbitrators, mediators—handle disputes and what difference does that make to the outcome of the dispute and the perceptions of the disputants?
  • The study of “disputing agents”, including lawyers and nonlawyers, who represent disputants in dispute processing institutions. How do such factors as training and experience, fee regimes, and oversight impact the actions of these agents?
  • The study of governmental disputants: we know that government tends to be a particularly successful disputant, particularly at the appellate level. We know less about government as a disputant at the trial or agency level.
  • Disputing and civil justice in the media: a number of studies have shown that news reporting, at least in terms of print news, focuses heavily on dramatic cases and dramatic plaintiff wins in particular. We know less about how the media reports the progress of cases, and we know virtually nothing about how broadcast media reports civil justice issues.

The CRN seeks to connect those in the Law and Society/Sociolegal Studies community with the segment of the growing Empirical Legal Studies community that focuses on civil justice issues.

The CRN maintains a listserve which can be used to disseminate information about research and funding opportunities, calls for papers, and conferences. To subscribe to the listserve, send a message The body of the message should contain the following: “subscribe lsacrn-cjdb” (no quotation marks).


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