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How Docket Control Shapes Judicial Behavior: A Comparative Analysis of the Norwegian and Danish Supreme Courts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Jon Kåre Skiple*
University of Bergen, Norway
Henrik Litleré Bentsen
University of Bergen, Norway
Mark Jonathan McKenzie
Texas Tech University, USA
Contact the corresponding author, Jon Kåre Skiple, at


European courts have responded to increasing caseloads by providing justices or other actors with a higher degree of discretionary docket control. Does docket type—mandatory or discretionary—shape judicial behavior? Using a most similar systems research design regarding tax decisions in the Norwegian and Danish supreme courts, we show that discretionary dockets are associated with higher dissent and reversal rates than mandatory dockets, that low-status litigants have a lower chance of winning under mandatory dockets, and that docket type conditions the effects of justices’ preferences. Our findings have implications for comparative judicial politics and for institutional design.

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