University of Denver

States Get New Tools to Help the Civil Justice System Reform Process

Senior Director

Across the nation, states are reforming the civil justice system. They are taking action in response to the Conference of Chief Justices' (CCJ) and Conference of State Court Administrators' (COSCA) endorsement of 13 recommendations focused on ensuring our courts are affordable, efficient, and fair for all. States are creating civil justice reform task forces and committees focused on improving the delivery of civil justice in their own states. To aid that process, IAALS and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) have rolled out several new tools as part of a three-year Implementation Plan to provide states with education and technical assistance.

This month we released two new tools:

The Impact Questionnaire provides a structured self-assessment tool to help court leaders highlight areas within their civil justice system in need of reform as well as potential implementation barriers. The Performance Measures document provides a description of common metrics and methods for assessing the effectiveness of existing and newly implemented civil justice rules and business practices. Both are essential aspects of civil justice reform that are often skipped.

This builds on the existing practical tools and resources IAALS and NCSC have developed.

As states move through the reform process, we encourage them to follow the Roadmap for Implementation, which sets out the crucial steps for success. These include an early assessment of the unique challenges and areas of needed reform in a particular jurisdiction, and development of performance measures, and a plan for evaluation. These are critical steps to ensure that the changes that are implemented achieve their intended goal of improving the delivery of civil justice for litigants.