Innovation in Arizona

Arizona has long been a leader in civil justice innovation. In 1940, the Arizona Supreme Court became the first state to promulgate a procedural system replicating the federal rules. Then, in the early 1990s, when citizen feedback called for reform, the Arizona Supreme Court and the State Bar of Arizona amended the rules, under the guidance of then-Chief Justice Thomas Zlaket, introducing comprehensive pretrial conferences, extensive disclosures, and presumptive limits on discovery.

Arizona continues to be a leader in the area of civil justice reform. New rules of civil procedure were adopted in 2013 that introduced a three-track differentiated case management system. In addition, in December 2014, Arizona’s Business Court Advisory Committee submitted a Report to the Arizona Judicial Council proposing a three-year pilot commercial court. In response, the Arizona Supreme Court established a three-year pilot Commercial Court, which started July 1, 2015, in Maricopa County.

In December 2015, Chief Justice Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court issued an Order establishing a new initiative for the Arizona Courts, creating a Committee on Civil Justice Reform focused on issues related to the time and expense of civil litigation, particularly discovery. On October 1, 2016, the Committee submitted a report, A Call to Reform: The Committee on Civil Justice Reform’s Report to the Arizona Judicial Council, including proposed rule changes, to the Arizona Judicial Council. The Committee presented the report to the Arizona Judicial Council in late October, and the Council voted to approve the recommendations.

Click here to return to the map.