U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Our Overloaded Judicial System - What Is the Cause? Is There a Remedy?

NCJ Number
Detroit College of Law Review Volume: 1983 Issue: 4 Dated: (Winter 1983) Pages: 1271-1276
E Goodman
Date Published
6 pages
The author explores factors contributing to an overburdened judicial system and concludes that eliminating social and economic inequities and inequalities may be the only solution to this serious problem.
The exponential growth of laws, lawsuits, administrative regulations and agencies, the proliferation of lawyers, and the expansion of the courts began in earnest after World War II, largely as a response to the vast economic disparities between the rich and the poor generated by the Depression. In addition, the propensity of Americans to litigate individual and social conflicts has been tradition also. In America, the courts have become the repository of real power. Against this tradition, the Supreme Court's broad interpretation of the Constitution to uphold New Deal programs strengthened people's reliance on the judicial system. The trend toward expanding individual rights became an avalanche in the 1950's and placed an enormous burden on the judicial system. While an initial problem was the acute need for lawyers, the increase in the numbers and skills of lawyers has clogged the system even more as attorneys insist on providing clients with every procedural safeguard and substantive right. If the burden of achieving equity under the law is placed on the judiciary, it may have to find more ways of turning away litigants and closing more avenues for obtaining access to equity and justice. Basic social reforms such as a national health system or adequate housing for all may be the only solution.


No download available