Civil justice

The civil justice system in the United States is arguably the most complex and comprehensive in the world. It involves state and federal statutes, regulations, and common law that guide governmental, commercial, and personal decision-making in the areas of consumer safety, employment and other contractual relationships, the sale of goods and services –- to name only a few.

When disputes arise in any of these areas, litigants can request resolution from a myriad of civil justice system actors including state or federal courts, state and federal administrative agencies, or private dispute resolution forums.

To help state courts manage civil cases effectively in this complex environment, the NCSC provides research on civil litigation trends and technical assistance on emerging issues such as complex litigation and mass tort management, medical malpractice, small claims management, and the admissibility of expert evidence.

The NCSC has extensive knowledge and experience helping courts to:

  • Understand civil litigation in state courts across the nation (Civil Justice Survey) through to the state appellate courts (Supplemental Study on Civil Appeals, 2001).
  • Anticipate emerging trends in civil justice by documenting, analyzing, and disseminating informantion about civil caseload filings and dispositions;
  • Track legal developments affecting pretrial, trial, and appellate procedures such as admissibilty of expert evidence and jury trial practices;
  • Learn inovative strategies to manage different types of civil cases including complex litigation, mass tort litigation, medical malpractice, small claims;
  • Develop and evaluate the impact of specialized procedures for different types of civil cases; and
  • Implement best practices to incorporate alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in civil litigation.


Civil Appeals Profile Database

Civil Appeals Profile Reports 

Complex Litigation: Key Findings from the California Pilot Program

The Effects of the Daubert Trilogy in Delaware Superior Court

Mass Tort Management in State and Federal Courts: A Case Study of Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Litigation