In Germany, the level of court fees is not cost-covering. Analyzing several welfare arguments to justify not cost-covering fees, only one aspect is conclusive. The benefit of judgments are not only private but also public (positive externality of litigation). It is due to the supreme courts to fill legal loopholes. Therefore, not cost-covering fees are justified in the case of supreme courts. By analyzing not cost-covering fees with the instruments of public choice theory, one can find more plausible reasons: the interest group of lawyers profits from not cost covering fees because the demand for lawyer services increases. Politicians collect their votes without loosing other votes; bureaucrats in the courts have an advantage by increasing their staff. Therefore, in order to reform the current situation, it is necessary to alter the restrictions of these self interested actors.
© 1996 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart