Civil Justice

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Civil law—the body of laws of a state or nation dealing with the rights of private citizens—seeks to resolve noncriminal disputes such as disagreements over property ownership or damage, insurance, contracts, divorce, and child custody. RAND helps make the civil justice system more efficient and more equitable by supplying government and private decisionmakers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research.

  • Emergency workers float along an oil collection boom in front of Athos I after it spilled 30,00 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River in Philadelphia, November 28, 2004, photo by Tim Shaffer/Reuters

    Report

    The Benefits and Drawbacks of Early Assistance After Disasters

    Nov 14, 2019

    After human-made disasters, early assistance from potentially responsible parties can sometimes fill gaps that are not always addressed by NGOs and first responders. But is providing such assistance a good strategy in terms of reducing future litigation or improving public opinion?

  • A statue of Themis holding the scales of justice

    Content

    RAND Institute for Civil Justice

    Oct 3, 2011

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ), a part of the Justice Policy program, conducts research on all aspects of civil justice, from trends in litigation and jury verdicts to punitive damages, compensation systems, and alternative dispute resolution. Directly or indirectly, civil justice issues have an impact on us all.

Explore Civil Law

  • Lynn Jones receives the COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, photo by Stephanie Amador/The Jackson Sun via Imagn Content Services, LLC/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Compensation System for Potential Side Effects Is an Important Part of a COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign

    Concern about potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects and their consequences may be contributing to Americans' reluctance to get vaccinated. Policymakers and the public should carefully consider what types and levels of compensation for any adverse effects of vaccination are truly fair and appropriate.

    Dec 18, 2020

  • A car crash in an urban area, photo by kadmy/Getty Images

    Report

    Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Auto Insurance

    The existing automobile insurance system in the United States should be flexible enough to accommodate the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Some changes to the insurance model may be indicated as vehicles incorporate higher levels of automation, but it is too early to make radical changes.

    Dec 17, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Unintended Consequences of Products Liability: Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Market

    This article explains a surprising effect of tort liability in the market for prescription drugs: punitive damages shift liability from doctors to drug companies, but not when physician malpractice liability is limited."

    Dec 11, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Product Liability and Moral Hazard: Evidence from General Aviation

    We estimate the impact of tort liability on a subset of consumers who have significant control over the probability of an accident: consumers of general aviation aircraft.

    Dec 11, 2020

  • Bottles containing a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, photo by Max Rode/Adobe Stock

    Report

    COVID-19 Vaccinations: Liability and Compensation Considerations for Policymakers

    Vaccine development is only one part of the challenge in creating an immunization campaign to stop the pandemic. Once a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is ready, liability and compensation issues could affect its distribution and administration.

    Sep 21, 2020

  • Journal Article

    The Public Health Value of Opioid Litigation

    This article proceeds in three parts: discussions of the general goals and role of public health tort litigation, the demonstrated and potential value of opioid litigation to achieve public health goals, and a conclusion.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • Profile with fingerprint on a red background, photo by malerapaso/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Bans on Facial Recognition Are Naive. Hold Law Enforcement Accountable for Its Abuse

    Broader police reform may be difficult to achieve. But in the long run, it will be more effective than any specific technology ban.

    Jun 17, 2020

  • Police officers patrol the beach after the closing of all the beaches in Miami-Dade County due to COVID-19, in Miami Beach, Florida, March 19, 2020, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    State Police Powers: A Less Than Optimal Remedy for COVID-19

    How can the United States face what may be a growing threat of pandemics without having to exercise powers so extraordinary that they not only restrict fundamental rights and liberties, but also damage or jeopardize the economic livelihood of so many?

    May 1, 2020

  • A member of the Seattle Fire Department leaves the scene following a medical response as efforts continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 31, 2020, photo by Jason Redmond/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Justice System and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Resources for Policymakers

    From closed courts to increased risk for first responders, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges for the justice system. RAND research provides insights that may be helpful as decisionmakers try and address some of these issues.

    Apr 20, 2020

  • Report

    Court Appearances in Criminal Proceedings Through Telepresence: Identifying Research and Practice Needs to Preserve Fairness While Leveraging New Technology

    In 2018, the Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative convened a workshop to explore the use of telepresence technology in the courtroom. Participants expressed the need for research-driven utilization to ensure that its full potential is realized.

    Jan 20, 2020

  • Gulbahar Jelilova, an ethnic Uighur activist from Kazakhstan, poses for a photograph in Istanbul, Turkey, November 16, 2018, photo by Murad Sezer/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Washington Could Make Beijing Listen on Xinjiang

    In autonomous Xinjiang, at least one million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities have been incarcerated by the Chinese government. What can the United States and its allies do to help defuse this humanitarian crisis?

    Jan 17, 2020

  • Report

    Who Settles in Workers' Compensation?

    The process of determining appropriate workers' compensation benefits can be costly and complicated. Changes in permanent disability benefits in Oregon provide a case study on the relationship between the expected value of the benefit and the probability of settlement.

    Dec 23, 2019

  • In this video, James M. Anderson speaks about the mission and history of the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

    Multimedia

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice: 40 Years

    For 40 years, the RAND Institute for Civil Justice has supplied government and private decisionmakers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research.

    Dec 12, 2019

  • Chalk drawing of a group of people around the world, photo by Professor25/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Celebrating Children's Rights Is Important, but More Progress Is Needed

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which set a legal framework and put children's rights firmly on the international policy agenda, was adopted 30 years ago. While there are a number of initiatives in place, more work could be done to maximize children's involvement in policy and decisionmaking on issues that affect their lives.

    Nov 25, 2019

  • Scales of justice on a table in front of books in a bookcase, photo by Zolnierek/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice: 40th Anniversary Reflections

    The RAND Institute for Civil Justice (ICJ) has supplied government and private decisionmakers and the public with the results of objective, empirically based, analytic research. In this era of Truth Decay, the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public life, the ICJ's mission and research have never been more important.

    Nov 6, 2019

  • Two passengers working in a driverless car, illustration by sorbetto/Getty Images

    Blog

    When Driverless Cars Were a Remote Idea

    Researchers at RAND have been working on the technology behind driverless vehicles for over 50 years. From 1968 to the present, studies have involved remote-controlled drones, military land vehicles, autonomous submarines, and the safety and liability issues of self-driving cars.

    Nov 1, 2019

  • Illustration of a large gavel crashing down on self-driving cars, illustration by Chris Philpot

    Essay

    Who's Responsible When Your Car Gets Hacked?

    Cars are becoming "fast, heavy artificial intelligences on wheels," a RAND report cautions, and that means they're becoming vulnerable. Potentially billions of dollars ride on the question of who has the legal responsibility to keep hackers from grabbing the wheel or cutting the brakes.

    Oct 23, 2019

  • Farm workers pick tomatoes in the countryside near the town of Foggia, southern Italy, September 24, 2009, photo by Tony Gentile/Reuters

    Commentary

    Saving Farmworkers from Slavery-Like Conditions, Field by Field

    Those at the bottom of the European agricultural supply chain are vulnerable to abuse. The same was true in the tomato fields of Florida until recently. The solution developed there may offer a roadmap for doing right by workers in Europe.

    Sep 5, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    When Autonomous Vehicles Are Hacked, Who Is Liable?

    The arrival of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the roads will require policymakers, industry, and the public to adapt to the risk of hackers attacking these vehicles. RAND researchers explored the civil liability issues related to hacked AVs.

    Jul 12, 2019

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