Chapter 2: Court Procedures

Civil Courts

Civil courts are an integral part of our judicial system, yet they are often ignored by scholars, the entertainment industry and the media for their counterpart, criminal courts. We offer two strong counterweights to this trend, one domestic and one comparative. Professor Tao Dumas provides a comprehensive primer on U.S. civil trial courts, along with a comparative analysis of civil outcomes in four U.S. states that highlight key independent variables like agenda and tort reforms. If other civil trial court reading is assigned, you may consider beginning with the literature specific to tort reform or starting with the data analysis section could also be an appropriate starting point for a reading assignment. Professor John W. Givens provides an intriguing look into the role that corporations may play in building civil law in foreign nations. Examining the use of civil courts by multinational companies in China, Givens shows that U.S. corporate litigants do not always behave as litigiously in foreign nations as they do at home and thus do not necessarily help diffuse western legal practice to non-western legal systems.


2.1. Dumas, Tao. “How Much is A Leg Worth? What do Civil Trial Courts Do, and Why Should We Care?”

2.2 Givens,  John Wagner. “On Their Best Behavior?”



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Open Judicial Politics Copyright © 2020 by Rorie Spill Solberg, Jennifer Segal Diascro, & Eric J. Waltenburg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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