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This course considers the fundamental and recurrent problems in civil actions largely through the rounded study of the conduct of a single modern system of procedure that is embodied in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In the first stage, the student surveys the phases of litigation under this system from commencement of action through disposition on appeal; the survey is intended to convey elementary information, to propound various questions, which are more deeply studied during the rest of the course, and to exhibit the distinctive characteristics of Anglo-American civil procedure.
The following subjects are then dealt with in more detail: evolution of the unitary civil action; pleadings, discovery and other pretrial devices including alternative dispute resolution; trial; jurisdiction of courts; and former adjudication. Equity jurisdiction is sketched in connection with the historical evolution of the unitary civil action, and there is some instruction in the rules of evidence in relation to the principal aspects of the trial. The division of business between federal and state courts claims attention, as does the enforcement of state law in federal courts and federal law in state courts. Contemporary developments with respect to parties, class actions and injunctive relief are also introduced.
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