Cover: Why we don't know more about the civil justice system, and what we could do about it

Why we don't know more about the civil justice system, and what we could do about it

Published 1995

by Deborah R. Hensler

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback6 pages Free

This article identifies three reasons why we know less about the civil justice system than about many public policy issues: First, most of the costs of the civil justice system are borne by private parties. Second, no federal government agency has a clear mandate to conduct or support civil justice policy research and analysis. Third, there is no statistical infrastructure to support ongoing investigation of the civil justice system. The author suggests that it is possible to do a better job of measuring how the civil justice system operates and the consequences of changes in substantive and procedural rules, and outlines factors that must be considered in designing a civil justice indicators series. She urges that we begin to define the crucial information needed to monitor the processes and outcomes of the civil justice system.

Originally published in: USC Law, Fall 1994, pp. 10-15.

This report is part of the RAND reprint series. The Reprint was a product of RAND from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.