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An economic analysis of court fees: evidence from the Spanish civil jurisdiction

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The adoption of “court fees” has been traditionally justified as a means to improve the performance of enforcement institutions as they may have an effect of “deterrence” of the dispute. Judicial congestion has clear negative impacts on economic performance. Spain, which has one of the highest rates of litigation of the OECD, has traditionally lacked a general system of court fees. In 2002, the Congress passed a system of court fees to be paid by legal entities and enterprises. In 2012, the fees were extended to individuals and abrogated in 2015. This bounded period of enforcement allows us to empirically test the impacts of court fees on congestion. In order to do this, we collected a comprehensive database of quarterly data on the real workload of civil courts. This study concludes that the effects of court fees, although reduced court’s congestion, are far from homogeneous and depend on the type of procedure, the workload of the courts and the local macroeconomic conditions.




Mora-Sanguinetti, J. S., & Martínez-Matute, M. (2019). An economic analysis of court fees: evidence from the Spanish civil jurisdiction. European Journal of Law and Economics, 47(3), 321–359.

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