Recently, the legal and academic communities have been studying the phenomenon of the "vanishing trial." The phenomenon is an observation of the fact that the American court system is experiencing a trend of shrinking trial dockets. At least one scholar has partially attributed the decline in trials to the value placed upon settlement rather than adjudication within our justice system. Those competing values have spawned a debate regarding the secrecy and confidentiality characteristic of settlements versus public access to information in civil litigation. Jurisdictions that have addressed the issue have noted the complexities involved in regard to the factors to be considered. This article outlines those factors, addresses the impact electronic filing may have on them, and theorizes that the impact may further contribute to the phenomenon of the vanishing trial, and what can be done to avoid those circumstances.
Dennis J. Drasco,
Public Access to Information in Civil Litigation vs. Litigant's Demand for Privacy: Is the Vanishing Trial an Avoidable Consequence,
2006 J. Disp. Resol.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol2006/iss1/12