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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Economic Theory of the Regulation of Preliminary Measures


Preliminary measures adopted early in litigation are crucial for plaintiffs, given existing court delays and changing economic environment, but can also harm a blameless defendant. Therefore, some form of regulation is needed to minimize the harms that can result and discard non-optimal measures. Law and economic scholars have suggested that courts should control requests for preliminary measures, but this form of regulation fails to explain existing legislations, both in civil law and common law countries. This article argues that non-optimal preliminary measures can be more efficiently filtered through a strict liability regime, and that their judicial control should be residual.

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