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Dispute Resolution in Ottoman Courts: A Quantitative Analysis of Litigations in Eighteenth-Century Kastamonu

  • Metin M. Coşgel and Boğaç A. Ergene

Abstract

Since the emergence of the Weberian notion of “kadijustiz” scholars have debated the ability of Islamic courts to resolve disputes fairly and predictably. For a quantitative analysis of how these courts resolved disputes, we use data from the court records (sicils) of the Ottoman town of Kastamonu and examine whether the judges’ decision followed systematic patterns and whether the patterns were logical. The results show that the trial outcome was influenced by the gender, elite status, religion, and religious markers of litigants. Using the tools and concepts of modern scholarship on dispute resolution, we argue that in resolving disputes Kastamonu courts displayed logical patterns that are consistent with those identified by quantitative analysis of court outcomes in modern societies.

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