Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Koen Van Aeken & Steven Gibens & Gerrit Franssen
Litigiousness is not a new subject, with the word appearing already in the seventeenth century. Litigiousness suggests an eagerness to go to law, perhaps even a fondness for the legal process. It is derived from the word litigious, which has its roots in the Latin verb litigiosus , depicting a quarrelsome, contentious person. Here it will mean a propensity or eagerness to litigate. Although one can expain litigiousness on a psychological level, in this entry it will be described as a social phenomenon, which is, in fact, well documented by the sociology of law. The existence of this social phenomenon is based on the perception—whether or not it is supported by scientific data—of a “litigation explosion” and awards of excessive damages in contemporary Western societies. It is not at all clear whether the litigation explosion and huge awards should be regarded as a general tendency in society. Apparently, in some ...