These types of cases raise unique issues as they are frequently uncontested, resulting in high numbers of default judgments, and typically feature at least one party without a lawyer.
“State court dockets have become dominated by cases that, though smaller-scale and arguably less complex than other types of civil litigation, are decidedly high-stakes for many of the litigants. These cases are shaping the lives of millions of Americans, particularly women and people of color,” explained Engstrom. “The future of the civil justice system, and the legitimacy of the courts at its center, will turn on how—and how well—judges, court administrators, and an array of other policymakers respond to these new realities.”
Engstrom continued: “The project will define the issues raised by these claims and attend to the fundamental, and often competing, process values of efficiency, accuracy, and fairness that are implicated in their adjudication. It will articulate principles for procedure and case management, court administration, the use of technology, the supply of and demand for legal help, institutional design, and dispute prevention to help courts and policymakers chart a wise path forward.”