Originally published in the Rhode Island Bar Journal - Volume 60, No. 4. January/February 2012.
Under the leadership of Presiding Justice Alice Gibne, the Superior Court has done yeoman's work in moving civil cases through the judicial system. These recent efforts are designed to reduce the backlog of cases and ensure that litigants receive their day in court in a timely manner. As former Chief Justice Warren Burger has observed, "A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people," and one of the main things that could "destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value."
In that spirit, I offer ten proposals for reforming current practice to augment the commendable efforts being undertaken in the Superior Court. Many of these proposals can be implemented immediately. A few require retooling of existing procedures. Each one owes its origin to the federal system, the experience of other state court systems or recent developments in our own court.
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