University of Denver

The Continued Rise of Short, Summary, and Expedited Civil Actions

Senior Director

A recent blog post, penned by former Judge Steven I. Platt, argues for implementing a short, summary, and expedited civil jury trial process in Maryland. Judge Platt points out the importance of our judicial branch of government remaining relevant and modern to best meet the needs of our citizens, and one way jurisdictions are responding to these needs: through the implementation of short, summary, and expedited civil action programs. There continues to be great interest in these programs, which generally involve a simplified pretrial process and a shortened, expedited trial, and multiple jurisdictions around the country are considering implementing them.

As these programs continue to grow in popularity, we recommend several resources for consideration. The first, A Return to Trials: Implementing Efficient Short, Summary, and Expedited Civil Action Programs, collects recommendations for courts that are interested in implementing such programs, as well as those seeking to improve the programs already in place. This publication is the outgrowth of IAALS' collaboration with the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), and the work of a committee of experts from around the country who brainstormed best practices for designing, implementing, conducting, and measuring effective programs that provide such benefits.

We also recommend A Summary of the Short, Summary, and Expedited Civil Action Programs Around the Country, a chart that provides a visual breakdown of current programs, cataloging their unique elements and providing links to more in-depth information.

Finally, for a more in-depth look at a number of these programs, we recommend NCSC's Short, Summary, and Expedited: The Evolution of Civil Jury Trials.