LAW 454

Civil Procedure in Practice – Problems and Reforms

Trial Advocacy

This course will look at civil procedure through the eyes of a judge.  Do federal and state rules of civil procedure as they exist serve the goals of the litigation process?  Or do they retard dispute resolution through the public justice system?  We will begin with an exploration of the fundamental goals of civil litigation, the motivations of participants in the civil litigation process and whether those motivations tend to further the fundamental goals.  Then we will consider what the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and state rules modeled on them) were designed to achieve.  Significant aspects of the current civil litigation process – expense, large numbers of self-represented litigants, the growth of the “private justice” economy, the vanishing jury trial – suggest that the rules of procedure are not operating as they originally were intended to operate.  Procedural reform movements, such as limitations on discovery and managerial judging, are gaining momentum, and transsubstantive civil procedure is being reconsidered.  The pros and cons of these reforms will be considered.  Students will be exposed to case studies in contrasting aspects of federal and California state procedure, considering the effectiveness of those rules in furthering substantive adjudication and litigation efficiency.

See Full Course Details