University of Denver

The American Civil Justice System: From Recommendations to Reform in the 21st Century

Kansas Law Review
Founding Executive Director
Senior Director

In this article we explore the history of recent efforts to improve the civil justice system in the United States, beginning first with the efforts of IAALS and the American College of Trial Lawyers Task Force on Discovery and Civil Justice, which culminated in a Final Report that proposed twenty-nine Principles containing broad ideas to improve the civil justice system.

We note the important empirical research over the last five years that has laid the groundwork for understanding what is working, and what is not, in the civil justice system. We also recognize the efforts at the federal level in support of rules changes and the pilot projects at both the state and federal level to experiment with proposed solutions. While it is too soon to draw conclusions from the pilot projects, given that final data has yet to be collected and analyzed, we nevertheless recognize common themes from the various projects’ design and purpose.