He Paid, She Paid: Exploiting Israeli Courts' Rulings on Litigation Costs to Explore Gender Biases

Talia Fisher*, Tamar Kricheli-Katz, Issi Rosen-Zvi, Theodore Eisenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study documents gender disparities in litigation-cost rulings in Israel. It expands on the existing literature on judicial bias in at least two important ways: by controlling for the merits of the cases and by focusing on civil litigation. The first improvement is methodological. The unique Israeli regime of litigation costs allows us to control for the merit of the cases, as well as for other typically unobservable variables, and thus to isolate and observe judicial bias. The second improvement on the existing literature on judicial bias involves focusing on outcome disparities in the civil (rather than criminal) justice system. Although numerous studies explore gender-based disparities in the criminal justice sphere, only a very small number of studies explore such disparities in the civil arena. We found clear disparities in the allocation of litigation costs between men and women. Male plaintiffs who lost were ordered to pay the winners' legal fees more often than were losing women as sole plaintiffs or as part of all-women plaintiff groups. Likewise, the fees women plaintiffs who lost a case were obliged to pay were less than those required of losing men, and women defendants who won cases received higher fee awards than similarly situated men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-561
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

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