Purpose This study investigates the presence of a productivity–quality trade-off in judicial decisions from an organisational standpoint, focusing on the courts as bureaucracies. Applied to the Italian context and focusing on criminal courts, the main question addressed is whether or not increasing productivity diminishes decision quality. Design/methodology/approach Directional distance function (DDF) models were utilised to assess productivity. Two-sample t-tests are then used to compare the quality of efficient and inefficient units in first instance and appeal, with the aim to determine whether a productivity–quality trade-off exists. Findings The study’s approach yields results that differ from previous studies. (1) The Italian judicial system is found less efficient. (2) The efficiency of the courts of first instance is relatively uniform. In contrast, there is a difference in efficiency between northern and southern courts of appeal, with northern courts on average being more efficient. (3) The analysis reveals a statistically significant productivity–quality trade-off when the courts of appeal are considered. Research limitations/implications New evidence of a judicial system is presented, suggesting reforms regarding “reasonable time” as the optimal balance between quality and productivity. Originality/value The organisational framework leads to evaluating the efficiency of the courts by considering the various types of proceedings based on the gravity/complexity of the cases. In light of the pyramidal structure of the justice system, the quality is then defined in terms of hierarchical control expressed as review rate.

Is “justice hurried actually justice buried”? An organisational perspective of the Italian criminal justice.

Troisi Roberta
;
Alfano Gaetano
2023-01-01

Abstract

Purpose This study investigates the presence of a productivity–quality trade-off in judicial decisions from an organisational standpoint, focusing on the courts as bureaucracies. Applied to the Italian context and focusing on criminal courts, the main question addressed is whether or not increasing productivity diminishes decision quality. Design/methodology/approach Directional distance function (DDF) models were utilised to assess productivity. Two-sample t-tests are then used to compare the quality of efficient and inefficient units in first instance and appeal, with the aim to determine whether a productivity–quality trade-off exists. Findings The study’s approach yields results that differ from previous studies. (1) The Italian judicial system is found less efficient. (2) The efficiency of the courts of first instance is relatively uniform. In contrast, there is a difference in efficiency between northern and southern courts of appeal, with northern courts on average being more efficient. (3) The analysis reveals a statistically significant productivity–quality trade-off when the courts of appeal are considered. Research limitations/implications New evidence of a judicial system is presented, suggesting reforms regarding “reasonable time” as the optimal balance between quality and productivity. Originality/value The organisational framework leads to evaluating the efficiency of the courts by considering the various types of proceedings based on the gravity/complexity of the cases. In light of the pyramidal structure of the justice system, the quality is then defined in terms of hierarchical control expressed as review rate.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4813333
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