Home Economics Commitment and cooperation on high courts : a cross-country examination of institutional constraints on judges
HOW DO JUDGES DECIDE WHICH CASES TO HEAR?
Although courts generally select cases for review based on some sense of whether they raise issues of public or legal significance, the vagueness of this threshold allows judges considerable scope in their choice. Before we discuss how judges decide, however, it is important to point out that not only do the judges screen out cases they do not want to hear but the parties themselves decide whether to appeal to the high court or not. As a result, neither the petitions to be heard by a court nor the set of cases actually heard by the court is random. The parties will decide to appeal or not in part based on the probability of succeeding on appeal. which, following the Priest-Klein hypothesis, should in general mean that cases with a very high (or very low) probability of success should not actually result in a hearing on the merits. We do not consider this private screen of cases coming before high courts but instead focus on the public screen of the judge selection of cases to hear.
We will consider four main theories of how judges make this choice, each of which may be partially true and operate along with the others:
We start with the simplest premise—that judges consider their overall workload when deciding whether to hear an appeal.
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