On December 7 OCBC Legal Affairs Committee Chair, Jeff Reeves, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, testified at a public hearing at UC Irvine’s School of Law on the proposed cuts to funding the state’s court system due to the budget crisis. Reeves testified on the importance of a fully-funded and fully-functioning civil court system to California’s businesses. He also called on the legal community to work with OCBC to dialogue on making litigation the exception, not the rule, in California, and reduce an over-crowded court calendar. In order to thrive, businesses need the predictability and stability of the courts so they can settle disputes intelligently, peacefully and quickly. Corporate decision-makers can make better decisions if they can forecast with reasonable precision the likely range of outcomes in a given business dispute, and know that the dispute can be resolved by the courts by a date in the not-too-distant future. CLICK HERE to read Mr. Reeves’ testimony.

The existing budget reduction, and potential future cuts, are threatening to undermine the efficacy of the judicial branch. California’s chronically under-funded courts have resorted to delaying filling judicial vacancies and judicial support positions, introducing furloughs, cutting hours and eliminating court days altogether.

The added uncertainty will introduce chaos into a system whose very purpose is to eliminate chaos. If businesses suffer, then commerce suffers, and business investment and growth will be stymied. The economic costs from under-funded courts results in corresponding tax losses that are estimated to be as much or more than the savings the cuts were intended to create. A dialogue should be encourages between the business community and the legal community aimed as suggesting reforms that stem the flow of cases that have no place being filed in the first place. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government Affairs.

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