Does Discovery Promote Settlement? An Empirical Answer
Law and economics scholars fiercely debate the question of whether discovery promotes settlement. The few empirical studies addressing this question in the United States have generated more questions than insights. This article reports the results of an independent empirical study designed to test discovery's effect on facilitating settlement by using official data from more than 175,000 civil cases terminated in Taiwan between 1996 and 2006. As a member of the civil-law family, Taiwan introduced the concept of discovery into its civil procedure by a 2000 reform. This empirical study shows that the settlement rate for civil cases in all the district courts indeed increased consistently over time following Taiwan's adoption of a discovery system. This article argues that Taiwan's successful experience provides evidence to support the theoretical prediction that the civilian system can enhance the settlement rate by introducing discovery into its civil procedure.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009-06-01