Criminal courts fundamentally provide a forum for conducting prosecutions with a guilty plea or a trial. At present, there is no generally accepted methodology for estimating the monetary value of those services. The purpose of this paper is to attempt to fill this gap by proposing a methodology predicated on the joint optimising decisions of society and the defendant, who are the two stakeholders in any criminal case. The technique can also be potentially used to evaluate both theoretically and empirically the impact of court delay reduction programs on social welfare, and the specification of socially optimal court waiting times.
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