A simple auction-theoretic framework is used to examine symmetric litigation environments where the legal ownership of a disputed asset is unknown by the court. The court observes only the quality of the case presented by each party, and awards the asset to the party presenting the best case. Rational litigants influence the quality of their cases by hiring skillful attorneys. This framework permits us to compare the equilibrium legal expenditures that arise under a continuum of legal systems. The British rule, American rule, and some recently proposed legal reforms are special cases of our model.

auctions, contests, free-shifting, litigation
Auctions (jel D44), Litigation Process (jel K41)
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series
Tinbergen Institute

Baye, M.R, Kovenock, D, & de Vries, C.G. (2000). Comparative Analysis of Litigation Systems: An Auction-Theoretic Approach (No. TI 00-103/2). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper Series. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/6929