All three branches of the federal government have instituted initiatives aimed at reducing expense and delay in civil litigation. On October 23, 1991, President Bush issued an Executive Order that imposes a number of requirements on government lawyers who participate in civil litigation. During February 1992, the Administration sponsored introduction of the Access to Justice Act, its legislative proposal for civil justice reform. The bill did not pass, because it included certain provisions that apparently proved unacceptable to many members of the House and Senate.

Regardless of how the controversy over civil justice reform is ultimately resolved, the reform effort will significantly change the nature of federal civil litigation. All attorneys who advise or represent individuals or entities that do or could litigate civil cases in federal court must be familiar with these new developments in civil procedure. This is especially true, because each of the ninety-four districts can adopt procedures which vary from those that every other district prescribes and from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

This paper charts the course of these recent developments. The piece first explores relevant civil justice reform efforts in each branch of the federal government. It examines the legislative and judicial branch endeavors together because they are closely linked. The paper then makes some predictions regarding the future course of the reform.

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