Using civil appeals data on Taiwan's Supreme Court (TSC), this article revisits the well-known question of whether the "haves" come out ahead in litigations. We first show that the higher-status litigants indeed mobilized stronger legal representation and obtained more victories than the lower-status litigants. However, we submit that that the party capability theory cannot fully explain the advantages the "haves" enjoyed over the "have-nots." Further analysis reveals that the TSC's exercise of discretionary jurisdiction also played an important role by strongly favoring the governmental litigants at the agenda-setting stage. We argue that the TSC's preference in this regard was induced by the TSC judges' self-identification as part of government. In conclusion, our empirical investigation shows that both party capability and court preference contribute to influence the outcomes of appeals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management