Civil Procedure Prof Blog links to a letter/white paper from Professor Jeff Parker of George Mason University School of Law, in which he asks Congress to delay implementation of the changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The amendments are intended largely as a “re-styling” of the rules without substantive change, but Professor Parker’s not so sure. Here’s an excerpt from the abstract:
I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but this year’s pending amendments also are extraordinary, as they will completely re-write each and every provision of the Civil Rules for the first time in their 70-year history. More fundamentally, they adopt a novel concept of rule interpretation – what one of the proponents calls “clarity without change” – that is antithetical to our jurisprudence and likely to produce disarray in the procedural system.
There is a substantial body of opinion, in which I join, that the proposed amendments are likely to produce a material degradation of civil justice in our federal courts by imposing enormous burdens of transitional cost, in exchange for little or no benefit. Perhaps more importantly, there is no indication that the judicial rulemaking committees have fully considered the potential consequences of these sweeping changes.