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NCJ Number: 42535 Find in a Library
Title: PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT OF LAW
Journal: JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY 1975)  Pages:1-46
Author(s): W M LANDES; R A POSNER
Corporate Author: University of Chicago
Law School
Managing Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 47
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago
Chicago, IL 60637
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: UNDER A PROPOSAL FOR PRIVATIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AND FIRMS WOULD INVESTIGATE VIOLATIONS, APPREHEND VIOLATORS, AND CONDUCT LEGAL PROCEEDINGS TO REDRESS VIOLATIONS.
Abstract: A PRIVATE ENFORCER WOULD BE ENTITLED, IF SUCCESSFUL, TO RETAIN THE ENTIRE PROCEEDS OF THE SUIT. THE UNSUCCESSFUL ENFORCER WOULD BE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE DEFENDANT'S LEGAL EXPENSES. THIS ARTICLE EXPLORES THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE AREA IN WHICH PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT IS IN FACT CLEARLY PREFERABLE TO PUBLIC ENFORCEMENT ON EFFICIENCY GROUNDS IS MORE RESTRICTED THAN THAT SUGGESTED IN THE PROPOSAL, AND THAT THE EXISTING DIVISION OF ENFORCEMENT BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS APPROXIMATES THE OPTIMAL DIVISION. PART ONE DEVELOPS AN ECONOMIC MODEL OF COMPETITIVE, PROFIT-MAXIMIZING PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT WHICH PREDICTS THE LEVEL OF ENFORCEMENT AND THE NUMBER OF OFFENSES THAT WOULD OCCUR IN A WORLD OF EXCLUSIVELY PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT. THE MODEL IS THEN REFINED TO ACCOUNT FOR THE PRESENCE OF MONOPOLY IN THE PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT INDUSTRY, DIFFERENT ASSIGNMENTS OF PROPERTY RIGHTS IN LEGAL CLAIMS, THE EFFECT OF TAXING PRIVATE ENFORCERS, NONMOMETARY PENALTIES, AND LEGAL ERRORS - ALL ELEMENTS IGNORED IN THE INITIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MODEL. THE MODEL IS THEN CONTRASTED WITH OTHER ECONOMIC APPROACHES TO THE ENFORCEMENT QUESTION AND A NUMBER OF POSITIVE IMPLICATIONS OF THE MODEL ARE PRESENTED RELATING TO THE CHOICE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ENFORCEMENT OF CRIMINAL VERSUS CIVIL LAWS, THE ASSIGNMENT OF EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS TO THE VICTIMS OF OFFENSES, THE BUDGETS OF PUBLIC AGENCIES, THE DISCRETIONARY NONENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW, AND THE LEGAL TREATMENT OF BLACKMAIL AND BRIBERY. THE AUTHORS CONCLUDE THAT THE POSITIVE IMPLICATIONS OF THE MODEL APPEAR TO BE CONSISTENT WITH OBSERVATIONS OF THE REAL WORLD, ALTHOUGH THE FINDINGS MUST BE REGARDED AS HIGHLY TENTATIVE. AN APPENDIX DISCUSSES THE ECONOMICS OF REWARDS - AN IMPORTANT METHOD OF COMPENSATING PRIVATE ENFORCERS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT)...ELW
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Criminal investigation; Economic crime models; Economic planning; Incentive systems; Law enforcement; Models; Private police; Prosecution
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