Administration of Justice

"Just, speedy, and inexpensive": How well do the courts meet these standards? The ICJ researches ways that court management can be improved

Real numbers and plain talk about the courts' workload and judicial management have long been specialties of the ICJ. During its first decade, the ICJ conducted studies of the reasons for pre-trial delay, the public costs of operating our courts, and the pace of litigation. Subsequent work focused on developing recommendations for reform in specific court systems and on particular aspects of the adjudicatory process such as court-ordered arbitration and settlement conferences.

This early work led to one of the ICJ's largest and most influential projects: an examination of the court management strategies mandated by the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990. Carrying out the charge of the U.S. Congress, staff members examined the details of more than 12,000 cases, conducted interviews with court administrators, judges, and local litigators in 20 courts, and documented how Federal District Court judges use their time to see if the new reforms were working. Ultimately, the research found that the Act's provisions did little to reduce delay or control costs, and as a result many of its provisions were allowed to "sunset" in 1999 after the ICJ's four studies were published. In addition to answering to the stated research question, the ICJ's work provided policymakers with first-time-ever empirical measures of what case management procedure can and cannot accomplish and suggested a package of techniques that could, if effectively implemented, improve the efficiency of the nation's courts.

Today, the ICJ continues to study the challenges and problems of civil court systems in its study of the workers' compensation courts in California, and its continuing work in alternative dispute resolution and electronic court filing systems across the country.

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2007

  • Insurance Class Actions in the United States 2007

    Nicholas M. Pace, Stephen J. Carroll, Ingo Vogelsang, Laura Zakaras

    Class actions, which are civil cases in which parties initiate a lawsuit on behalf of other plaintiffs not specifically named in the complaint, often make headlines and arouse policy debates. However, policymakers and the public know little about most class actions. This book presents the results of surveys of insurers and of state departments of insurance to learn more about class litigation against insurance companies.

2005

2004