If you want any dispute arising from a services contract to be quickly resolved, you probably need to include a mandatory arbitration clause in the contract. Why? Because the delays in resolving civil cases in court continue to grow. This situation further supports our standard recommendation that enterprise customers should seriously consider seeking to resolve disputes under services agreements under mandatory arbitration clauses.
The Wall Street Journal announced recently that a “Glut of Criminal Cases Puts the Squeeze on Civil Case.” The dirty little secret is out of the bag. Simply put, if you have a case in federal court, you’re at the end of the line behind all of the criminal prosecutions and the other civil litigants who got there first. According to the Journal, criminal prosecutions in federal court have increased 70% in the past ten year. Criminal cases have priority over civil cases so as criminal cases increase, judicial time available for civil cases decreases. Meanwhile, almost 300,000 new civil cases were filed in federal court in 2010. While the workload has increased, the number of judges is falling because there is a 9.5% vacancy rate. The end result is that the median time to trial in federal courts in 2010 was almost two years, which means that 50% of the trials took more than two years to begin. This increasing delay for civil litigation probably is occurring in the state courts as well.