Civil Law

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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

  • 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

    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

  • Smart car 3D rendering, photo by Production Perig/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    When an Autonomous Vehicle Is Hacked, Who Is Liable?

    Hacks on autonomous vehicles could lead to deaths, property destruction, ransomware attacks, or data theft. Several scenarios illustrate the policy challenges facing the civil legal system, insurers, and others.

    Jul 12, 2019

  • Equations and formulas behind scales of justice, images by monsitj and DNY59/Getty Images

    Report

    Addressing the Challenges of Algorithmic Equity

    Social institutions increasingly use algorithms for decisionmaking purposes. How do different perspectives on equity or fairness inform the use of algorithms in the context of auto insurance pricing, job recruitment, and criminal justice?

    Jul 11, 2019

  • Imam Ibrahim Abdul Halim of the Linwood Mosque is embraced by Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Coptic Church, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Christchurch Massacre Was Another Internet-Enabled Atrocity

    Terrorism has become an internet-enabled abuse—incited, propagated, and sometimes organized and concealed by online activity. Who should be held accountable for abusive content, the author or the publisher? And what role should the government play in regulating it?

    Mar 20, 2019

  • A close-up image of a police body camera clipped to a vest

    Report

    Using Video Analytics and Sensor Fusion in Law Enforcement: Building a Research Agenda That Includes Business Cases, Privacy and Civil Rights Protections, and Needs for Innovation

    Video technology is changing the ways that law enforcement works and interacts with the public. In this report, the authors explore some of the challenges posed and innovation needs in this emerging area.

    Dec 28, 2018

  • Legal gavel and leather binder on a desk

    Report

    The Role of Health Care Liens in Litigation and Recovery

    This paper examines the different types of health care liens and trends in prevalence, as well as how liens have changed the landscape of claim resolution.

    Nov 19, 2018

  • Report

    An Evaluation of New Mexico's Online Intake System for Civil Legal Aid

    This report describes an evaluation of the online intake system for civil legal aid that New Mexico implemented in April 2016 to better assess the effects online intake systems might have in practice.

    Sep 28, 2018

  • The Facebook logo is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018

    Commentary

    Freedom of the Internet 'Press'

    The First Amendment enables companies such as Facebook to publish what they choose. Arguing against this right could lead to government regulation over digital media. It could also further degrade the reliability of online information.

    Aug 10, 2018

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