Legal Reform


Legal reform today in America is critical, particularly as it pertains to economic reform. Our free market economy cannot be sustained without ensuring full guarantees of private property and transparent predictability for entrepreneurship. Legal reform should be an integral part of any state government reform agenda.

In 2009, American’s legal system cost $248.1 billion, or roughly $808 per person. This statistic makes America’s civil justice system the most expensive in the industrialized world. Forecasts also expect higher levels of tort cost growth for 2011, given that growth in legal costs also generally increases with inflation and are directly tied to government spending as well.

 The tactics used by aggressive personal injury lawyers cause many companies to settle questionable lawsuits just to stay out of court. They use the media to sensationalize these issues and plaintiffs can often be awarded multi-million dollar punitive damage awards, another reason companies often settle out of court. Lawsuits like this are bad for business and bad for society as one can easily see from the rising cost of our legal system.

Reform must take place on multiple fronts in order to address this serious legal issue. Health care liability reform, class action reform, and punitive damage limitations are among the issues the SGLF believes need to be addressed. Regulation through litigation must be addressed as well. It is crucial that state leaders step up and reform the system at the state level.

Additional Resources

American Tort Reform Association
Studies Towers Perrin, 2011 Update on U.S. Tort Cost Trends
Creating Conditions for Economic Growth: The Role of the Legal Environment
The Federalist Society
Institute for Legal Reform
101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems

A reformed tort system will also ensure that the United States remains competitive on a global scale. Businesses must do what is in their best interests, and the high costs of the U.S. judicial system do not bode well for them. A reformed, efficient legal system will also greatly benefit the residents of the United States, as it will not only encourage creativity and innovation, but will lower product costs, insurance premiums and taxes, and increase employment across multiple sectors.

News & Articles