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Federal Judicial Center Celebrates 50 Years: Improving Civil Justice Administration and Case Management in the Federal Courts


At the direction of specific committees of the Judicial Conference, such as the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, the Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System, and the Committee on Federal State Jurisdiction, Center Research staff conducted hundreds of research studies examining proposed case-management innovations. Many of the research findings were incorporated into manuals and resource guides for judges.


1969, 1985, 1995, 2004

Manual for Complex Litigation

This work describes approaches that trial judges have found to be useful in managing complex cases. The current edition updates the treatment of electronic discovery and other aspects of pretrial management and describes major changes affecting case management in the substantive and procedural law in mass torts, class actions, intellectual property, employment discrimination, and other types of litigation. A chapter deals with managing scientific evidence.
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District Court Study Series – Case Management and Court Management in United States District Courts

An oft-cited analysis of the differences between court-management procedures resulting in fast versus slow processing and those resulting in high versus low rates of disposition. This volume reports the overall results of the District Court Studies Project, a long-range effort by the Federal Judicial Center to assist the work of the United States district courts. The goal of the project is to help the courts achieve and reconcile the purpose stated in Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: "to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Specifically, the project has been designed to determine what procedures are associated with the highest possible speed and productivity, consistent with the highest standards of justice. Alternative procedures are examined and recommended.
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Judicial Controls and the Civil Litigative Process: Discovery

A description of the statutory sentencing alternatives in the federal courts. Addressed primarily to newly appointed district judges, the report relates sentencing alternatives to the policies of the agencies that carry out the sentences, particularly the Bureau of Prisons and the Parole Commission.
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An Evaluation of the Civil Appeals Management Plan: An Experiment in Judicial Administration

An evaluation of the first experimental operation of the Civil Appeals Management Plan (CAMP) of the Second Circuit. The report evaluated a set of procedures designed to eliminate burdensome appeals, improve the quality of appeals, and expedite the appellate process through the use of mandatory scheduling orders and pre-argument conferences supervised by staff counsel. The report concluded that the initial experiment failed to provide conclusive evidence of the plan's substantive value but that further analysis is warranted.
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Attorneys’ Fees in Class Actions

A circuit-by-circuit review of case law governing the award of attorneys' fees in class actions and an examination of abuses in fee requests. The report also includes a discussion of judges' and attorneys' attitudes toward fee computation. Recommendations focus on procedures, implemented early in litigation, designed to avoid problems when fee requests are submitted.
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Manual for Litigation Management and Cost and Delay Reduction

Prepared in response to a mandate of the Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, the manual offers judges an arsenal of management techniques for every phase of civil litigation. It includes forty-three sample forms experienced judges have found useful in their courts as well as an overview of case-management theory and practice.
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1994, 2004, 2011

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

The Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence assists judges in managing cases involving complex scientific and technical evidence by describing the basic tenets of key scientific fields from which legal evidence is typically derived and by providing examples of cases in which that evidence has been used.
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1995, 2012

Case Management Manual for United States Bankruptcy Judges

The objective of this manual is to help judges manage the bankruptcy cases and proceedings on their dockets by describing principles and techniques judges from around the country have found most effective. Its suggestions are offered as food for thought—a foundation for considering techniques and methods that will best suit the individual judge and case or proceeding. In order to better explain certain case-management techniques set forth in the manual, it provides historical background and explanations of some of the substantive law.
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2000, 2011

Case Management Procedures in the Federal Courts of Appeals

This report details the varying appellate practices and procedures of the U.S. courts of appeals within the generally uniform appellate scheme imposed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Part I of the report highlights key variations from court to court; Part II describes in detail the case-management procedures of each court.
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Civil Litigation Management Manual, Second Edition

This manual provides trial judges a handbook on managing civil cases. It sets out a wide array of case-management techniques, beginning with early case screening and concluding with steps for streamlining trials and final disposition. It also discusses a number of special topics, including pro se and high-visibility cases, the role of staff, and automated programs that support case management.
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Citing Unpublished Opinions in Federal Appeals

At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would help the Standing Committee in its consideration of a proposed new Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite the court's unpublished opinions. The Center's research effort consisted of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. The rule, as amended and approved by the Judicial Conference in September 2005 and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2006, applies only to opinions issued in 2007 or later. The rule became effective December 1, 2006.
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Navigating Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code

Municipalities facing fiscal crisis often must make difficult choices, attempting to balance their financial obligations with obligations to deliver critical services, such as the provision of public safety, education, and health, as well as water, sewer, and transportation services. The primary objectives of Chapter 9—to provide a breathing spell to, and adjust the debts of, a distressed municipality—are familiar to bankruptcy professionals. The substance and process of Chapter 9, however, differ from other plan chapters under the Bankruptcy Code in meaningful ways. These differences, the unique circumstances of each Chapter 9 case, and the dearth of statutory and case-law guidance—all against Tenth Amendment considerations—can make navigating a Chapter 9 case challenging for all parties, including the judge and the clerk of court.
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