Written by Ethan Paul, undergraduate student at the Pennsylvania State University
In December 2016, the NYU School of Law launched the Civil Jury Project. This new initiative seeks to examine the rapid decline in the relevance and use of the jury trial in civil cases, despite the drastic increase in the use of civil lawsuits themselves. This problem has taken on greater public prominence recently. (We wrote a blog-post on the subject back in October, which can be found here.)
The Civil Jury Project intends to outline the decline’s broad and systemic causes, the consequences it has and will continue to bring about, both “for the legal system and society more broadly,” and the solutions that might be feasibly implemented to either roll back that decline or inhibit those consequences. Among other things, these solutions will include a broad re-evaluation in the “ways in which juries are constituted and jury trials are conducted,” including whether there should be a right to trial by jury, and “how that right can be exercised consistent with basic commitments” to speed and efficiency.
Along with serving as a center for empirical assessments of the current and future role of the civil jury, the Project also intends to develop and disseminate effective educational programs on the civil jury that might reach the broader public.
Along with a list of scholarship covering different aspects of the civil jury system, ranging from arbitration to jury selection, the Civil Jury Project also offers numerous resources for outside application: a guide to planning a “Jury Improvement Lunch,” a concept launched by the project wherein State and Federal judges have lunch with their recent jurors to discuss their experience; “Talking Points” about why we need juries; and a video archive of the various programs they have launched thus far