A simple search engine query for “civil courts backlog” will yield hundreds and thousands of links that all say the same thing, that it’s not going away any time soon and things are unlikely to ever return to pre-Covid functionality.

Every US court jurisdiction, from the Federal Court right the way down to the District Courts is literally drowning in the backlog of cases that have piled up since the Pandemic struck. Not that it was a bastion of efficiency before the pandemic…  

On average, the backlog of cases has grown by 30 percent. Justice systems around the world are all compromised.  

But let’s get real here, the civil courts backlog existed even before Covid spread around the country and with Covid the entire justice system has ground to a dangerous halt. 

Why? The answer is simple. American courts are overburdened, going to trial for cases that could easily be resolved using alternative dispute resolution solutions such as online arbitration.

But before we get to that, let’s take a look at what lawyers, judges, and people seeking judicial redress are saying. 

What are people in the Justice System saying about the growing Civil Courts backlog?

wooden gavel and bronze scales of justice

Transport yourself back in time to early 2020 and just imagine asking a judge or attorney to predict the situation if a global pandemic were to wreak havoc on the justice system, creating a backlog of cases the length of 10 football fields.

You would have probably been met with strange looks and an admission that your morbid suggestion would mean that the courts would never be able to dig themselves out.

Bring yourself back to reality, and this is exactly where the US Justice system finds itself. 

A report by Thomson Reuters published in August 2021 found that the average backlog for state and local courts in the US increased by one-third during the pandemic. 

In the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on State & Local Courts Study 2021, a survey of more than 238 judges and other court professionals found that the average backlog in US courts before the COVID-19 pandemic was 958 cases. That backlog increased to 1,274 in the last year. 

One-third of  US courts saw their case backlogs increase by more than 5% in the last year, and another 23% saw their backlogs increase by 1% to 5%.

Tellingly, the report states: “Even in the best of times, the nation’s courts consistently battle case backlogs for a variety of reasons. When you add a public health crisis into that equation, it is easy to see why the backlog situation may become much more difficult to manage.”

New Jersey now has a civil court backlog that is twice what it is before the Pandemic, with the prominent Epstein Law Firm, projecting that this figure could double again.

Georgia estimates that it will take three years and a staggering $60 million dollars to dig through the current court backlog.

The justice system is trying but it can’t do much with its limited resources. Massachusetts for example has taken over a grand ballroom kitted out with pianos and wooden dancefloors to try and farm out satellite jury locations. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny. But it isn’t a laughing matter at all. 

In Bexar County, Texas, the system is only processing one felony, one misdemeanor and one civil jury trial per day. 

If you really want to quantify the enormity of the problem, just take a look at the Covid Notices section of the US Courts website. It makes for very dire reading.

So will the civil courts backlog ever be cleared?

The consensus amongst legal professionals is that t it is very unlikely that the courts’ backlog will be cleared anytime in the foreseeable future. 

Troublingly, many agree that court systems are broken beyond repair and that Covid was the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Some jurisdictions have tried to leverage technology to improve the situation, but traditional court systems are simply not yet geared up for online activities. 

In some states, it is not even legal! So what is the solution? 

Online arbitration. American Arbitration Association statistics show that in 2020, a total of 9,538 claims arbitration claims were filed for a total of $18,011,977,599.  With online arbitration, there is room to expand.  

Online arbitration can help clear the civil courts backlog

One of the smartest things you can do when entering into a contract with another party is to stipulate the inclusion of an arbitration clause in the agreement.

Online arbitration through platform leader Brief is 100 percent online and does away with all the problems associated with civil lawsuits and the limitations of traditional bricks and mortar courthouses. 

Arbitration awards are legally binding and can be reduced to enforceable judgments when filed in the District Court. 

The Brief six-step process is super-simple and saves time and effort. Why end up waiting for years to have your case heard? Why put yourself at risk in the middle of a pandemic? Why be taken on a fishing expedition during the Discovery phase?

Our Ejudges will evaluate all the evidence put forward and eliminate the time-consuming slog of going through the courts.  Further, both parties to the arbitration process are given opportunities to settle smartly, bringing the case to a swift end. 

Are you ready to recover what you are owed?

Brief has helped small and large businesses across the United States recover debts that were simply not worth the cost of traditional litigation or traditional arbitration if not for online dispute resolution.

Register now on our online portal. Download our arbitration clause for your contracts with our clause builder.

 If a dispute arises, it is a simple process to submit your claim, all for a flat upfront fee.

Brief’s online arbitration platform is typically 80 percent faster (or more) than a civil court hearing or traditional “brick and mortar” arbitration.

Satisfied and repeat participants include electronic commerce sites (Fintech), factors, banks, MCAs, and other lenders. 

Brief also handles all types of monetary disputes as well as declaratory relief actions such as quiet title, coverage claims and warranty claims.   

Our screened network of “Ejudges” spreads across all 50 states and each case is matched to the jurisdiction and subject matter expertise of the Ejudge.

You can request a demo from our homepage or call one of our arbitration consultants today on tel: +12134443794. Alternatively, drop us an email at [email protected].


Brief is a market-leading online arbitration platform in the United States. Our 100 percent online alternative dispute resolution platform helps businesses protect their contracts and agreements through online arbitration. Follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook for updates and news about online arbitration and more.

*Brief cannot and will not give legal advice on any matters, financial or not.

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