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"Most Cases Settle": Judicial Promotion and Regulation of Settlements

Marc Galanter and Mia Cahill
Stanford Law Review
Vol. 46, No. 6 (Jul., 1994), pp. 1339-1391
Published by: Stanford Law Review
DOI: 10.2307/1229161
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229161
Page Count: 53
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"Most Cases Settle": Judicial Promotion and Regulation of Settlements
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Abstract

The fact that litigation ends in settlement in the vast majority of cases may lead one to conclude that settlement is the "preferred" alternative to going to trial. Efforts to promote settlement, including the Civil Justice Reform Act's requirement that courts adopt techniques for expediting the litigation process, seem to embrace the view that "settlement is good." However, this begs the question: What makes settlement "better" than adjudication? In this article, Professor Galanter and Ms. Cahill question whether settlement is the "right" outcome just because most parties agree to it. They critique existing methods for measuring the benefits of settlement, examine the multitude of factors-legal, sociological, and economic-that contribute to a party's decision to settle, and explore the merits of judicial promotion of settlement. The authors argue that courts and policymakers should approach settlement with a more critical eye, distinguishing "good" settlements from less desirable ones.

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