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

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Outcomes of Medical Malpractice Litigation Against US Physicians

    The risk of medical malpractice varies substantially according to physician specialty.

    Jun 1, 2012

  • A lawyer shaking hands with someone

    Commercial Book

    Would Increased Transparency Improve the U.S. Civil Justice System?

    Some argue that the confidentiality of the civil justice system keeps it working efficiently and fairly; others argue that the public is being denied information about hazards that may cause harm. A balanced approach to increasing transparency can improve the system, raise public confidence, and protect litigants' privacy.

    Apr 24, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Would Increased Transparency Improve the Civil Justice System?

    This research brief provides an overview of a collection of essays, a collaborative project by the UCLA-RAND Center for Law and Public Policy, examining the trade-offs between transparency and confidentiality in the civil justice system.

    Apr 24, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    New Book Explores Transparency in the American Civil Justice System

    The quest for greater transparency in the American civil justice system is the topic of a new book of essays illustrating how a balanced approach to increasing transparency can improve the civil justice system, raise public confidence and protect litigants' privacy.

    Apr 24, 2012

  • Man using computer

    Report

    Predictive Coding Could Reduce E-Discovery Costs, but More Guidance Is Needed on Data Preservation

    Companies could lower the high cost of large-scale electronic discovery in lawsuits by using a computer application known as predictive coding to reduce the number of documents requiring human review.

    Apr 11, 2012

  • gavel and scales of justice

    Report

    How Did the Financial Crisis Affect the U.S. Civil Justice System?

    A preliminary assessment of the impact of the financial crisis on the civil justice system finds that litigation demands on some parts of the system have increased, that funding for state courts may be trending downward, and that there have been disruptions in the legal services economy, in the provision of legal aid, and in the operation and staffing of courts.

    Mar 5, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Innovations in the Provision of Legal Services in the United States: An Overview for Policymakers

    Discusses innovation's role in the legal services industry, factors affecting innovation's production, and the research and data infrastructure needed by policymakers to understand whether restrictions on the practice of the law should be altered.

    Oct 26, 2011

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Most Physicians Will Face Malpractice Claims, But Risk of Making Payment Is Low

    The most comprehensive analysis of the risk of malpractice claims by physician specialty in more than two decades finds that U.S. physicians have a greater than 75% career-long risk of facing litigation. In some specialties, doctors can be virtually certain of a lawsuit over the course of their careers. However, the vast majority of those claims will not result in payment to a plaintiff.

    Sep 14, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Links Between Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts, Tort Cases Examined

    Asbestos bankruptcy trusts—created to compensate people injured by the mineral—may be influencing tort cases. The current way that the trusts and the tort cases are linked together may result in payments that are not consistent with the basic principles of the tort liability system.

    Aug 18, 2011

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Bankruptcy Trusts, Asbestos Compensation, and the Courts

    People with asbestos injuries are increasingly receiving compensation from trusts set up by bankrupt asbestos defendants. This brief documents how courts handling these cases consider trust payments when determining compensation.

    Aug 18, 2011

  • News Release

    News Release

    Links Between Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts, Tort Cases Examined

    Asbestos bankruptcy trusts—created to compensate people injured by the mineral—may be influencing tort cases. The current way that the trusts and the tort cases are linked together may result in payments that are not consistent with the basic principles of the tort liability system.

    Aug 18, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty

    The likelihood of malpractice suits and the size of indemnity payments vary across specialties, but by age 65, 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties had faced a malpractice claim, as compared with 99% of physicians in high-risk specialties.

    Aug 17, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Clinical Decision Support and Malpractice Risk

    From the standpoint of policy makers, the basic challenge is to ensure that liability concerns do not derail the clinical value of new CDS technology, write Michael Greenberg and M. Susan Ridgely.

    Jul 6, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Clinical Decision Support and Malpractice Risk

    Clinical decision support (CDS) refers to electronic technology used to enhance clinical decision making. The basic challenge for policymakers interested in promoting adoption of CDS is to ensure that liability concerns do not derail the clinical value of new CDS technology.

    Jun 30, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Update to The Sigma Scan

    This external publication is an online database of short Horizon Scanning Centre think-pieces. RAND Europe updated 25% of the papers on this database, to incorporate more recent policy issues, evidence, and developments.

    Dec 31, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts

    While legislative and judicial reforms have made it increasingly difficult to obtain compensation for nonmalignant diseases in the tort system, the trust system remains a source of compensation for such injuries. This report describes the creation, organization, and operation of asbestos personal-injury trusts and compiles publicly available information on the assets, outlays, and governing boards of the 26 largest ones.

    Jul 26, 2010

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Overview of Alternative Litigation Financing in the United States

    Provides an overview of U.S. alternative or ''third-party'' financing: describes the main types of financing, reviews arguments to limit this activity, begins to analyze its effects on litigation, and suggests lessons for policymakers.

    May 13, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Alternative Litigation Financing in the United States: Issues, Knowns, and Unknowns

    Describes the extent and types of alternative litigation financing (ALF) -- also known as ''third-party'' litigation financing -- in the United States as of early 2010 and discusses the legal ethics, social morality, and potential economic effects of ALF.

    May 10, 2010

  • News Release

    News Release

    Better Patient Safety Linked to Fewer Medical Malpractice Claims in California

    Reducing the number of preventable patient injuries in California hospitals from 2001 to 2005 was associated with a corresponding drop in malpractice claims against physicians.

    Apr 15, 2010

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