Supporting the Nation's Judicial System & the Public it Serves

New Report Highlights States’ Civil Justice Reform Efforts

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) finalized a three-year project with the release of their new report, Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: The Road to Civil Justice Reform.  The report highlights the experiences of four states—Idaho, Maine, Missouri, and Texas – as they worked to implement guidelines adopted by the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) to ensure the just, prompt, and cost-effective resolution of civil cases in state courts.  With support from SJI, IAALS and NCSC provided each state with the guidance and tools necessary to support successful implementation, and then circled back to interview those involved.  Due to COVID-19, courts are currently operating under uniquely challenging circumstances and a tight timeframe—while reform takes time, the need for change has been accelerated.  The experiences of the states in this report, and their use of Transforming Our Civil Justice System for the 21st Century: A Roadmap for Implementation – a set of seven clear steps for courts to follow when implementing change – can provide invaluable guidance to other courts.  The Roadmap steps provide a key framework for reform that states can follow: leadership; assessment and definition of issues; engagement of stakeholders to gain input; development of vision and goals for reform; clear recommendations; and action.