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This book chapter compares civil litigation in the courts of first and second instances in Taiwan in 2010–2015 with that in U.S. federal courts in 2010–2013. The two judicial systems, as expected, are different in many ways. Settlement rates in Taiwan, even broadly defined, were below 25%; in U.S. federal court, they exceed 70%. In Taiwan, summary judgments were basically non-existent; in U.S. federal court, they represent nearly a third of merits judgments. Rates of appeal in Taiwan are nearly 10 times higher (27% versus 3%) than in the U.S. federal courts. And yet judges in Taiwan, at least those in the court of first instance, handled cases more quickly than their colleagues in the U.S. federal courts—indeed, twice as fast. Yet, the two judicial systems respond similarly when encountering simple debt collection cases. These cases, large in number in both systems, fail to settle as standard theories would predict. Instead, these disputes are frequently resolved through default judgments. This chapter provides cautionary lessons for future empirical comparative civil procedure studies.
The Indian Supreme Court has been called “the most powerful court in the world” for its wide jurisdiction, its expansive understanding of its own powers, and the billion plus people under its authority. Yet scholars and policy makers have a very uneven picture of the court’s functioning: deep knowledge about the more visible, “high-profile” cases but very little about more mundane, but far more numerous and potentially equally important, decisions. This chapter aims to address this imbalance with a rigorous, empirical account of the Court’s decisions from 2010 to 2015. We use the most extensive original dataset of Indian Supreme Court opinions yet created to provide a broad, quantitative overview of the social identity of the litigants that approach the court, the types of matters they bring to the court, the levels of success that different groups of litigants have before the Court, and the opinion-writing patterns of the various judges of the Supreme Court. This analysis provides foundational facts for the study of the Court and its role in progressive social change.
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