Charting a Future for the Civil Jury System: Report from an American Bar Association/Brookings Symposium

Brookings Institution Press
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Juries are the one place where common citizens play an important part in the governmental process. But both the jury system and the American legal system itself have been under attack. Juries have been reduced in size, their selection procedures altered, and the unanimity requirement suspended. Many now question the ability of lay jurors to decide increasingly complex technical and scientific questions arising in civil suits and have advocated sharp limitations on the right to a jury trial. At the same time, the civil justice system itself has been criticized for the high and rising costs of litigation, along with the rising number of lawsuits that have strained the capacity of many courts which have effectively curtailed access to the courts. This report of a conference in June 1992, cosponsored by the Brookings Institution and the litigation section of the American Bar Association, brings together leading academic scholars, attorneys, federal and state judges, and federal and state legislative representatives and their staffs. They examine the civil jury system and offer policy recommendations to help resolve disputes in a more effective and efficient manner.
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About the author

Robert E. Litan is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution and vice president for research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. Among his many books is Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity (Yale University Press, 2007), written with William J. Baumol and Carl J. Schramm.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jan 7, 2005
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Pages
48
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ISBN
9780815797609
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Civil Procedure
Law / Jury
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The right to a jury trial is a fundamental feature of the American justice system. In recent years, however, aspects of the civil jury system have increasingly come under attack. Many question the ability of lay jurors to decide complex scientific and technical questions that often arise in civil suits. Others debate the high and rising costs of litigation, the staggering delay in resolving disputes, and the quality of justice. Federal and state courts, crowded with growing numbers of criminal cases, complain about handling difficult civil matters. As a result, the jury trial is effectively being challenged as a means for resolving disputes in America. Juries have been reduced in size, their selection procedures altered, and the unanimity requirement suspended. For many this development is viewed as necessary. For others, it arouses deep concern.

In this book, a distinguished group of scholars, attorneys, and judges examine the civil jury system and discuss whether certain features should be modified or reformed. The book features papers presented at a conference cosponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, together with an introductory chapter by Robert E. Litan. While the authors present competing views of the objectives of the civil jury system, all agree that the jury still has and will continue to have an important role in the American system of civil justice.

The book begins with a brief history of the jury system and explains how juries have become increasingly responsible for decisions of great difficulty. Contributors then provide an overview of the system's objectives and discuss whether, and to what extent, actual practice meets those objectives. They summarize how juries function and what attitudes lawyers, judges, litigants, former jurors, and the public at large hold about the current system.

The second half of the book is devoted to a wide range of recommendations that will both improve citizens' access to jury determinations and help resolve disputes in a more effective and efficient manner. Among their many suggestions, the authors call for changes in trial procedures and techniques that would improve the ability of jurors to understand the lay and evidence, a reduction in administrative costs and delays, and a change in they way juries are chosen. The authors also recommend shorter hours and more pay for jurors, greater flexibility in court schedules, and elimination of alternate jurors. In the final chapter the civil jury is considered in the broader context of how society resolves or manages civil disputes.

This new edition of Norgren and Nanda's classic updates their examination of the intersection of American cultural pluralism and law. They document and analyze legal challenges to the existing social order raised by many cultural groups, among them, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, homeless persons, immigrants, disabled persons, and Rastafarians. In addition, they examine such current controversies as the culture wars in American schools and the impact of post-9/11 security measures on Arab and Muslim individuals and communities. The book also discusses more traditional challenges to the American legal system by women, homosexuals, African Americans, Latinos, Japanese Americans, and the Mormons and the Amish.

The new chapters and updated analyses in this Third Edition reflect recent, relevant court cases dealing with culture, race, gender, religion, and personal status. Drawing on court materials, state and federal legislation, and legal ethnographies, the text analyzes the ongoing tension between, on the one hand, the need of different groups for cultural autonomy and equal rights, and on the other, the necessity of national unity and security. The text integrates the authors' commentary with case descriptions set in historical, cultural, political, and economic context. While the authors' thesis is that law is an instrument of social policy that has generally furthered an assimilationist agenda in American society, they also point out how in different periods, under different circumstances, and with regard to different groups, law has also some opportunity for cultural autonomy.

A proven resource for high performance, the Siegel’s series keeps you focused on the only thing that matters – the exam. The Siegel’s series relies on a powerful Q&A format, featuring multiple-choice questions at varying levels of difficulty, as well as essay questions to give you practice issue-spotting and analyzing the law. Answers to multiple-choice questions explain why one choice is correct as well as why the other choices are wrong, to ensure complete understanding. An entire chapter is devoted to teaching you how to prepare effectively for essay exams. The chapter provides instruction, advice, and exam-taking tips that help you make the most of your study time. A wonderful resource for practice in answering the types of questions your professor will ask on your exam, the Siegel’s Series will prove valuable in the days or weeks leading up to your final.

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Exposing you to the types of questions your professor will ask on the exam, Siegel’s will prove valuable in the days or weeks leading up to your final.A great number of questions at the appropriate level of difficulty—20 to 30 essay Q&As and 90 to 100 multiple-choice Q&As—provide opportunity for you to practice spotting issues as you apply your knowledge of the law. Essay questions give you solid practice writing concise essay answers, and the model answers allow you to check your work. An entire chapter is devoted to preparing for essay exams.In checking your answers to multiple-choice questions, you can figure out where you may have erred: Answers explain why one choice is correct and the other choices are wrong. To help you learn to make the most of your study time, the introductory chapter gives instruction, advice, and tips for preparing for and taking essay exams .The table of contents helps you prepare for exams by clearly outlining the topics tested in each Essay question. In addition, you can locate questions covering topics you’re having difficulty with by checking the index. Revised by law school professors, the Siegel’s Series is updated on a regular basis.
As recently as thirty years ago, Americans lived in a financial world that today seems distant. Investment and borrowing choices were meager: virtually all transactions were conducted in cash or by check. The financial services industry was heavily regulated, as an outgrowth of the Depression, while an elaborate safety net was constructed to prevent a repeat of that dismal episode in American history. Today, consumers and businesses have a dizzying array of choices about where to invest and borrow. Plastic credit cards and electronic transfers increasingly are replacing cash and checks. Much regulation has been dismantled, although the industry remains fragmented by rules that continue to separate banks from other enterprises. Meanwhile, finance has gone global and increasingly high-tech. This book, originally prepared as a report to Congress by the Treasury Department, outlines a framework for setting policy toward the financial services industry in the coming decades. The authors, who worked closely with senior Treasury officials in developing their recommendations, identify three core principles that lie at the heart of that framework: an enhanced role for competition; a shift in emphasis from preventing failures of financial institutions at all cost toward containing the damage of any failures that inevitably occur in a competitive market; and a greater reliance on more targeted interventions to achieve policy goals rather than broad measures, such as flat prohibitions on certain activities.
With the increasing integration of the major economies of the world, trade frictions have also increased. The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, once scheduled for completion in December 1990, has been slowed over the issue of agricultural subsidies. The U.S.-Japanese trade relations have continued to be a source of friction between the two countries. At issue in all these disputes is whether the United States and other countries are playing "fairly" in the international trade arena.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) outlines a variety of rules designed to ensure fairness. The United States, like other GATT signatories, has enacted statutes designed, for the most part, to be consistent with the GATT requirements.

In this book, Richard Boltuck and Robert E. Litan, joined by a team of attorneys and economists with direct experience in "unfair trade" practice investigations, provide the first study of how one of the U.S. governmental agencies charged with implementing the U.S. laws governing unfair trade—the Department of Commerce—has actually discharged its statutory mission. In particular, the book focuses on the antidumping and countervailing duty statutes, provisions allowing the United States to impose offsetting duties on imports that are sold here at prices below those charged by the producers in their home countries that benefit from subsidies provided by foreign governments to encourage exports. Although these provisions may have once been obscure parts of the U.S. trade laws, they have figured importantly in many recent celebrated trade disputes, including those involving the import of foreign-made semiconductors, steel, lumber, screen displays for laptop computers, word processors, and minivan vehicles.

All but one of the authors in the volume are highly critical of the procedures used by the Department of Commerce to calculate margins of dumping and export subsidization. Specifically, they find that at many points in the investigations, both through substantive and procedural requirements, there is a bias toward higher margins, and therefore higher import duties, than is warranted by economic theory; and in some cases by the GATT antidumping and subsidy codes themselves. Significantly, these authors contend that most of the biases can be removed without legislative change, but rather through changes in administrative practice.

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