European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 195–237 | Cite as

Fewer courts, less justice? Evidence from the 2008 French reform of labor courts

  • Romain Espinosa
  • Claudine Desrieux
  • Hengrui Wan


The need to provide justice at reasonable cost represents a current challenge for many public authorities. Many reform projects propose to remove some courts in order to rationalize the judiciary. This paper explores the 2008 French reform of labor courts (removing 20 % of the courts) to empirically investigate the determinants of the removal decision, and its consequences on demand for litigation and case duration in the remaining courts. This represents—to our knowledge—the first attempt to evaluate the impacts of courts’ removal. Using panel data, our empirical strategy is based on probit estimations, counterfactuals, as well as 3SLS estimations. Our results show that the reform removed small and concentrated courts. It decreased demand for litigation in the targeted areas. Results also suggest that case duration might have increased in some specific courts since 2011.


Judiciary reform Courts’ removal Judicial map  Case duration Caseload 

JEL Classification

K40 K41 K31 C33 



This research was not funded by any institution. Data are publicly available on the websites of the Ministry of Justice and INSEE (French National Institute for Statistics). The authors are very thankful to the editor Alain Marciano for his great help and to three anonymous referees for useful comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romain Espinosa
    • 1
  • Claudine Desrieux
    • 1
  • Hengrui Wan
    • 2
  1. 1.CRED(TEPP) University of Paris IIParisFrance
  2. 2.ParisFrance

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