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Front. Phys. | doi: 10.3389/fphy.2018.00001

Priority Queuing on the Docket: Universality of Judicial Dispute Resolution Timing

  • 1Indian Institute of Management, India
  • 2Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University, United States
  • 3Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

This paper analyzes court priority queuing behavior by examining the time lapse between when a case enters a court’s docket and when it is ultimately disposed of. Using data from the Supreme courts of the United States, Massachusetts, and Canada we show that each court’s docket features a slow decay with a decreasing tail. This demonstrates that, in each of the courts examined, the vast majority of cases are resolved relatively quickly, while there remains a small number of outlier cases that take an extremely long time to resolve. We discuss the implications for this on legal systems, the study of the law, and future research.

Keywords: judicial priority queuing, legal complex systems, empirical legal studies, Judicial behavior, law as a natural phenomenon

Received: 31 Aug 2017; Accepted: 03 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Nicola Lettieri, Istituto nazionale per l’analisi delle politiche pubbliche (INAPP), Italy

Reviewed by:

Eric Josef Ribeiro Parteli, University of Cologne, Germany
Daniele Vilone, Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy
Antonio Stabile, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Mukherjee and Whalen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Ryan Whalen, University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law, Pokfulam, Hong Kong,