Civil Justice Reform Sunset
Carl Tobias   |   1998 U. Ill. L. Rev.

This article uses the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 (CJRA) as the backdrop for addressing efforts to increase uniformity, simplicity, and transsubstantivity, and to decrease expense and delay in civil litigation. Professor Tobias discusses both the origin and the implementation of the CJRA. By requiring each federal district court to formulate a civil justice expense and delay reduction plan, the purpose of the CJRA is to decrease expense and delay in civil litigation. Professor Tobias argues that the CJRA has been successful because districts have applied techniques that have saved cost and time and have provided new data which may prove valuable upon evaluation; yet he argues that the CJRA does have shortfalls. A primary shortfall addressed in this article is that the CJRA effectively suspended the purpose of the Judicial Improvement Act of 1988 (JIA) to increase uniformity and simplicity in civil litigation. After a thorough evaluation of the effectuation of the CJRA, Professor Tobias ultimately suggests that policy makers should capitalize on the best aspects of the CJRA and the JIA, and he offers proposals for the future to increase uniformity, simplicity, and transsubstantivity, and decrease expense and delay in civil litigation.

* Professor of Law, University of Montana. I wish to thank Lauren Robel and Peggy Sanner for valuable suggestions, Cecelia Palmer and Charlotte Wilmerton for processing this piece, and the Harris Trust and Ann and Tom Boone for generous, continuing support. I am a member of the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group for the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana; however, the views expressed here and the errors that remain are mine.