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Correction Activities by France’s Supreme Courts and Control over their Dockets

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to observe how supreme courts use their discretionary power over their dockets to correct appellate courts’ decisions relative to their own interpretation of the law. There are two supreme courts in France, the Conseil d’État for the administrative branch, and the Cour de Cassation for the civil one. In both courts, at different dates though, a reform took place that gave them discretionary control over their dockets. Hence, a difference in the supreme courts’ decisions might be due to either different correction activities, selection strategies, or both. Accordingly, it is necessary to distinguish between them before drawing any conclusions about supreme courts’ behaviors. We develop an econometric approach to assess whether the correction activities are similar between supreme courts, and whether these activities are affected when the supreme courts can select cases. Using an original database of all environmental cases determined by the supreme courts between 1956 and 2010, we rely on a counterfactual approach to compare cases across the courts before and after the reforms. Our study concludes that correction activities do not differ across the courts as long as they are submitted to the same selection rule. We also find that the supreme courts use the possibility of selection to increase their pro-plaintiff correction activities in a way that affects the overall probability of success of plaintiffs and defendants.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 5:27:09 PM
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Pierre Bentata, Romain Espinosa, Yolande Hiriart. Correction Activities by France’s Supreme Courts and Control over their Dockets. Revue d'Economie Politique, Dalloz, 2019, 129 (2), pp.169-204. ⟨10.3917/redp.292.0169⟩. ⟨halshs-02167246⟩

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