Litigants' Strategies in Elected Courts: Evidence from French Labor Court

Claudine Desrieux (University Paris 2)
Romain Espinosa (University Paris 2)

Abstract: In this paper, we focus on how litigants adapt their strategies to the composition of the elected courts they face. We investigate the case of French labor courts which are composed of equal elected members from both employees' unions and employers' federations. Using data from the French Justice Ministry between 1998 and 2012, we investigate whether union membership of these lay judges influences judicial outcomes (settlement, decisions in court, intervention of a professional judge when no majority is found among the lay judges). Our methodology relies on probit and ordered probit estimations, with controls for endogeneity. We also run a double sample selection model to control for case selection. We find that courts with elected judges from the most confrontational unions lead to more settlement and more intervention of a professional judge (caused by a selection effect). However, we detect no impact on the decision (rejection or acceptation of the claim), nor on the volume of litigation