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Who Decides?: A Critical Look At Procedural Discretion, Robert G. Bone Aug 2006

Who Decides?: A Critical Look At Procedural Discretion, Robert G. Bone

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Federal civil procedure today relies extensively on trial judge discretion to manage litigation, promote settlements, and otherwise tailor process to individual cases. Even those rules with decisional standards leave trial judges considerable interpretive freedom to make case-specific determinations. This Article criticizes these choices and recommends stricter rules. Many judges and procedure scholars applaud the discretionary approach, and the Advisory Committee seems content to draft vague rules that implement it. The assumption seems to be that trial judges have the expertise and experience to do a good job of tailoring procedures to the needs of particular cases. The assumption is wrong ...