Delay undermines the performance of courts the world. Its implications and possible solutions, however, are not so widely understood. The assessment of the efficiency of delay as a rationing mechanism requires a general theory, which looks at the effect on the number of conflicts, suits settlements and trials. The outcome is somewhat disturbing: delay may be socially beneficial, but the assumptions seem prohibitively strict. The policy implications are that court is best reduced via increases in court fees and improvements in legislative and judicial quality.European Journal of Law and Economics 10/3, p. 243-268.