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 including efforts to improve the civil justice system through implementation of recommendations of the CCJ Civil Justice Improvements Committee, which were endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators in July 2016.
The NCSC has extensive knowledge and experience helping courts to:
- Implement civil justice reforms;
- Understand civil litigation in state courts across the nation (Landscape of Civil Litigation in State Courts, Civil Justice Survey) through to the state appellate courts (Supplemental Study of Civil Appeals, 2001);
- Assess the impact of civil reform efforts in state courts (California; New Hampshire, Utah);
- Anticipate emerging trends in civil justice by documenting, analyzing, and disseminating information about civil caseload filings and dispositions;
- Track legal developments affecting pretrial, trial, and appellate procedures such as admissibility of expert evidence and jury trial practices;
- Learn innovative 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.