Explaining difference in the quantity of cases heard by courts of last resort

While civil law courts of last resort review up to 90% of appealed cases, common law courts hear as few as 1% of the same petitions. This study postulates that these different policies can be explained by a comparatively larger commitment from common law courts of last resort to judicial law-making rather than judicial uniformity. While law-making courts need to hear few cases to update the law, uniformity courts require a large number of cases to maximize consistency in the lower courts’ interpretation of the law. We show that the optimal number of hearings increases with an increment in the courts’ concern for uniformity. We also show that if hearing costs are linear then the hearing policies of all courts can be classified in only two types. We also predict important changes in hearing policies when the number of petitions increases and we find that hearing rates and reversal disutility operate as two ways in which a legal system can achieve a given level of judicial uniformity