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New report highlights states’ civil justice reform efforts

June 3, 2020

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) finalized a three-year project with the release of their new report, Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: The Road to Civil Justice Reform. The report highlights the experiences of four states—Idaho, Maine, Missouri, and Texas—as they worked to implement guidelines adopted by CCJ and COSCA to ensure the just, prompt, and cost-effective resolution of civil cases in state courts. With support from the State Justice Institute, IAALS and NCSC provided each state with the guidance and tools necessary to support successful implementation, and then circled back to interview those involved.  Due to COVID-19, courts are currently operating under uniquely challenging circumstances and a tight timeframe—while reform takes time, the need for change has been accelerated. The experiences of the states in this report, and their utilization of Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: A Roadmap for Implementation—a set of seven clear steps for courts to follow when implementing change—can provide invaluable guidance to other courts. The Roadmap steps provide a key framework for reform that states can follow: leadership, assessment and definition of issues, engagement of stakeholders to gain input, development of vision and goals for reform, clear recommendations, and action.