Court Underfunding

Because of recent budget cuts, many state courts are struggling with bulging dockets and reduced resources -delaying and denying access to justice for thousands of individuals and businesses across the nation. read more...

In recent years, many states have dramatically cut their courts’ operating budgets. In California alone, the court system has experienced over $1 billion in cuts over the past several years, leading to the closure of more than a hundred courtrooms and reduced hours for dozens more. 

This is particularly problematic for the American business community, because businesses rely on an independent, impartial court system to enforce contracts, protect property rights, and resolve disputes in a fair and expeditious manner.

Unfortunately, the court funding crisis is leading to greater delays in litigation and hurting businesses of all sizes. The uncertainty created by protracted litigation can cause businesses to delay hiring new employees, launching new products, or expanding operations.

Lengthy litigation can also damage business reputations. The longer it takes for a business to vindicate itself in court, the greater the loss in goodwill and reputation.

Stock prices are also affected. Studies have shown that pending litigation depresses share value, and the stock price usually does not recover until after the case has been resolved through settlement or otherwise.

To ease the civil litigation backlog, state, localities, and the federal government need to adequately fund our nation’s courts. They should also consider additional changes that could reduce the court backlog, including increased use of alternative dispute resolution, implementation of more stringent pleading standards, stronger venue and evidentiary standards, and more streamlined discovery procedures.

 

Research

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice - FIFTH EDITION 2017

September 12, 2017 | A user's guide to state legal reforms, providing policymakers with a compendium of options available to foster a sound legal system and promote state economies. This resource also offers a compilation of recently-enacted legal reforms to show how legislators can move the proposals described in the guide from theory into practice.

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice

September 10, 2015 | 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system. It considers fair and effective measures to improve the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, and rein in excessive awards.

Additional Resources

All Results for Court Underfunding

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice - FIFTH EDITION 2017

September 12, 2017 | Research

A user's guide to state legal reforms, providing policymakers with a compendium of options available to foster a sound legal system and promote state economies. This resource also offers a compilation of recently-enacted legal reforms to show how legislators can move the proposals described in the guide from theory into practice. Read More »

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems: A User's Guide to Promoting Fair and Effective Civil Justice

Author: Victor E. Schwartz and Cary Silverman, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. | September 10, 2015 | Research

101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems offers some of the many options available to foster a sound legal system. It considers fair and effective measures to improve the litigation process, promote rational liability rules, and rein in excessive awards. Read More »

Chief Justice: Cuts Taking a Toll on Courts

January 02, 2014 | News and Blog

Budget cuts have imperiled the ability of the federal court system to deliver prompt justice, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his annual report on the judiciary. Read More »

In the News Today - December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013 | News and Blog

An op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says a pending bill will protect Wisconsin businesses from out-of-state trial lawyers taking advantage of a loophole to file asbestos lawsuits against solvent companies while 'double-dipping' into a trust system set up to compensate legitimate victims. Read More »

In the News Today - October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013 | News and Blog

JP Morgan has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion to settle investigations by the Department of Justice into their mortgage-backed securities business, but the deal reportedly would not settle a criminal probe. Read More »

U.S. Chamber Urges Congress to Raise Federal Judges' Pay

April 17, 2007 | Press Release

Washington, DC-U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform President Lisa A. Rickard released the following statement in conjunction with today's hearing on judicial pay by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property: Read More »

U.S. Chamber Backs Judicial Pay Raise Bill

July 17, 2006 | Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Chamber today endorsed the Federal Judicial Fairness Act (S.2276) as a key ingredient for attracting and retaining top quality federal judges. The endorsement was made by Lisa A. Rickard, President of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), as part of her remarks at the ILR's State of the American Judiciary conference. Read More »

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