Appellate courts, which have the most control over legal doctrine, tend to operate through collegial (multimember) decision making. How does this collegiality affect their choice of legal doctrine? Can decisions by appellate courts be expected to result in a meaningful collegial rule? How do such collegial rules differ from the rules of individual judges? We explore these questions and show that collegiality has important implications for the structure and content of legal rules, as well as for the coherence, determinacy, and complexity of legal doctrine. We provide conditions for the occurrence of these doctrinal attributes in the output of collegial courts. Finally, we consider the connection between the problems that arise in the collegial aggregation of a set of legal rules and those previously noted in the collegial application of a single, fixed legal rule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science