Circular Priority Systems, 71 YALE L.J. 53 (1961)
What should be done when an inadequate fund is to be distributed among
competing claimants and under applicable rules of law, A is entitled to priority
over B, who is entitled to priority over C, who is entitled to priority over A?
Or, in a variant, when B and C have claims entitled to equal priority, one of
which is superior, the other inferior, to A's claim? The problem has long
entertained lawyers, particularly those in whom a speculative turn of mind is
allied with some proficiency in mathematics. Several exceedingly complex
all-purpose theoretical solutions have been proposed. These have been ignored by the courts. A judge who finds himself face to face with a circular priority system typically reacts in the manner of a bull who has been goaded by the picadors: he paws the ground and roars with rage. The spectator can only sympathize with judge and bull.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Gilmore, Grant, "Circular Priority Systems" (1961). Faculty Scholarship Series. 2681.