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Confidentiality, Transparency, and the U.S. Civil Justice System - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Confidentiality, Transparency, and the U.S. Civil Justice System

Joseph W. Doherty, Robert T. Reville, and Laura Zakaras


The lawsuit is the cornerstone of the civil justice system in America, and an open court the foundation of American jurisprudence. In a public setting, we resolve disputes, determine liability, and compensate injuries. In recent decades, however, more civil disputes have been resolved out of court and the outcomes have been kept secret. Fewer than 5% of the tens of millions of injury claims annually are actually resolved through a public trial with a jury, and the vast majority are settled out of court or through private forums, such as mediation or arbitration, with undisclosed terms. Some ar ... More

Keywords: lawsuit, civil justice system, American jurisprudence, injuries, compensation, mediation, arbitration, fraud, transaction costs

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199914333
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199914333.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph W. Doherty, author
UCLA School of Law

Robert T. Reville, author
RAND Corporation

Laura Zakaras, author
RAND Corporation