Idaho Civil Justice Reform
In July 2016, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) approved a Resolution endorsing 13 recommendations that are designed to transform the civil justice system in our state courts to meet the challenges of contemporary civil caseloads and the needs of those who come to the courts for resolution of their disputes. Following this endorsement, IAALS and NCSC launched a Civil Justice Initiative (CJI) Implementation Plan to support implementation of the recommendations—by developing tools, providing education and technical assistance, evaluating demonstration projects, and hosting regional summits for state action teams. As part of this project, IAALS and NCSC have published Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: A Roadmap for Implementation, which provides a clear step-by-step process for moving from initial assessment and definition of issues to working with stakeholders and implementing reform.
IAALS and NCSC worked with four states—Idaho, Maine, Missouri, and Texas, as they moved through the roadmap process, providing technical assistance and documenting their efforts. In February 2017, Idaho was selected by the CJI Steering Committee to serve as the roadmap state from the Western CCJ/COSCA region. As part of its initial assessment, Idaho’s Civil Justice Reform Task Force undertook a survey of the bench and bar to identify the issues and areas for reform. This survey informed the Task Force’s work going forward as they considered the 13 recommendations and how best to implement them in Idaho.
In early 2019, the Task Force delivered its Final Report to the Idaho Supreme Court. The Final Report recommended changes to the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure (IRCP) to provide more timely and cost-effective measures for the majority of the civil cases filed in Idaho courts. The Task Force proposed revising IRCP Rule 26 to include “mandatory initial disclosures; three separate tiers for case assignment—simple, standard, and complex—each with different discovery limits; and stronger enforcement of disclosure requirements.” Recommendations also incorporate proportionality into the scope of discovery. The Idaho Supreme Court has adopted the Task Force’s recommendations, and Idaho is now moving forward with implementation.
In April 2020, IAALS published Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: The Road to Civil Justice Reform, which documented the experiences of Idaho and the other roadmap states as they moved through the roadmap process, noting successes and challenges, and identifying lessons learned for future courts implementing reform to provide practical insight into the process of implementing court changes. The study aims to help other jurisdictions understand how they can successfully implement similar changes in their courts, while also inspiring additional jurisdictions to undertake reform.