The recent civil war ripping apart Yugoslavia is a trenchant reminder of the horrors of balkanization. Without trivializing the Yugoslavian experience, the term balkanization usefully applies to developments in American federal civil procedure that now threaten the continued viability of a uniform, simple system of procedure. Thirty-four federal courts' nascent implementation of the Civil Justice Reform Act (CJRA) of 1990 will exacerbate these developments; indeed, if the remaining sixty districts that must issue civil justice expense and delay reduction plans by December 1993 fail to halt this trend, the Act will further fragment procedure. This article cautions those responsible for maintaining an efficacious procedural system that they must slow balkanization, lest civil procedure become even more disuniform and complex.
The piece first explores numerous developments in federal civil procedure that fostered the balkanization of a once uniform, simple system. It then analyzes the most recent manifestations of the phenomenon, as witnessed in congressional passage of the CJRA and thirty-four districts' initial implementation of the statute, and finds that civil justice reform will worsen the prior procedural developments. The paper next evaluates the implications of enhanced balkanization and concludes that it will detrimentally affect federal court judges, lawyers and litigants.
Carl Tobias, Civil Justice Reform and the Balkanization of Federal Civil Procedure, 24 Ariz. St. L. J. 1393 (1992).