Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2002

Abstract

Writing in 1924, seventy-eight volumes ago, Professor Edson R. Sunderland began The Machinery of Procedural Reform with this sentence: "Much has been said and written about the imperfections of legal procedure."' Much of his article describes circumstances in which procedural reform occurred only in response to conditions that had become "intolerable." A decade later, Congress enacted the Rules Enabling Act that still provides the framework for reforming federal procedure.2 The Enabling Act establishes a deliberate and open process for amending the rules initially adopted under its authority. It may take longer today to consider and adopt a single rule amendment than the original rulesmakers took to create the original body of Civil Rules.' The process surely provides the "close and pains-taking study of an intricate mechanism which is necessary for successful regulation" that Professor Sunderland hoped for.4 It is difficult to be as confident about the overall effect of the painstaking changes that have gradually accumulated since the Civil Rules first took effect in 1938.


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