For the past six weeks, we’ve been analyzing the year-by-year evolution of the areas of law covered by the California Supreme Court’s civil and criminal dockets. I once read a quote from an appellate judge who commented that every jurisdiction completely restates its law every twenty years. Since our data library covers nearly that long – sixteen years – let’s gather the data together for some overall conclusions.

In Table 80 below, we report the total number of cases in each area of law for the civil docket. Of the 671 civil cases heard by the Court since 2000, 103 were tort law. Government and administrative law was right behind at 99 cases, followed by 83 civil procedure cases, 78 employment law cases and 73 constitutional law cases. After that, the number dropped sharply, as the next most common area is insurance law at 42 cases.

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In Table 81 below, we report the same data as a percentage of the civil docket. Tort law amounted to 15.35% of the civil docket, followed by government and administrative law at 14.75%, civil procedure at 12.37%, employment law at 11.62% and constitutional law at 10.88%. Insurance law accounted for 6.26% of the docket. Arbitration law produced 4.77% of the cases, followed by domestic relations (3.28%), environmental law (3.28%), workers’ compensation and tax law (2.83% each), commercial law (2.53%), consumer law (2.24%) and contract law (2.09%). The six least common issues on the civil docket were secured transactions and riparian law (0.15%), election law (0.45%), construction law (0.6%) and wills and estates and property law (1.79% each).

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Join us back here tomorrow as we gather together our analysis for the criminal docket.