Does Criminal Diversion Contribute to the Vanishing Civil Trial?

37 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2013 Last revised: 7 Oct 2013

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

Through his seminal work on the vanishing trial, Professor Marc Galanter has had a profound impact on public and scholarly discourse about the role of the trial in litigation, documenting the sharp reductions in the rate of civil cases since the mid-twentieth century. While there is little remaining doubt that the American civil trial is an increasingly scarce commodity, there is still much debate as to what has caused the decline.

In this Article, we seek to explore the extent to which the federal criminal docket may be contributing to the rapid disappearance of the civil trial by taking priority in the distribution of court resources. To do this, we examined the data-set of all federal civil and criminal cases between 1996 and 2011. On the whole, we find little evidence supporting the notion that the criminal docket can explain any portion of the vanishing civil trial rate.

Keywords: law, trials, litigation

Suggested Citation

Meixner, John B. and Seidman Diamond, Shari, Does Criminal Diversion Contribute to the Vanishing Civil Trial? (May 1, 2013). DePaul Law Review, Vol. 62, pp. 443-478, 2013; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 13-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2316949

John B. Meixner (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Northwestern University - Department of Psychology

Evanston, IL
United States

Shari Seidman Diamond

Northwestern University, School of Law & American Bar Foundation ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2040 (Phone)

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