Adversarial and inquisitorial procedures with information acquisition

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19 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the properties of the two most commonly used legal institutions: the inquisitorial system and the adversarial system. In the former system, the judge makes a decision based on her own acquired information, whereas in the latter system, the advocates are required to present their acquired information to the uninformed judge. Within the binary decision framework, I study the circumstances in which one system is superior to the other in terms of accuracy. The following two effects are notable in the adversarial system: The advocates exert more effort regarding information acquisition than the judge, and the adversarial judge gleans additional information from non-disclosure events. However, one inherent weakness of the adversarial system is its communication problem. In cases in which such a problem is more pronounced, the inquisitorial system should prevail despite its lack of incentives for information collection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-803
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2013.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Law


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