Federal court filings increased by seven percent last year

That’s one immediate and important takeaway from the Annual Report of the Director of the U.S. Courts, published today. I shall have more to say about this once I have digested it — but business appears to be booming.

Federal courts release Annual Report and latest statistics

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has released its 2017 annual report, which includes a wealth of caseload statistics for the district courts and circuit courts of appeal. It’s a fascinating read for those who like reams of data.

For those who just want the punchline, Law360 gives a good summary:

In the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2017, case filings fell in federal courts of appeal by 16 percent and in district courts by 7 percent, while petitions to U.S. bankruptcy courts fell by 2 percent, bringing the overall number of cases filed in each of those courts to their lowest levels since at least fiscal year 2013, the report shows.

Since 2013, the number of cases filed in federal appellate courts have dropped by 10.5 percent, while the number filed in district courts have fallen 6 percent and federal bankruptcy petitions have declined by 28.5 percent, according to the data, which pointed to a few factors that impacted the year-on-year decline in each of those courts.

In U.S. district courts, the decline from 2016 was driven by a reduction in civil filings. They fell 8 percent from approximately 291,000 to just under 268,000 from one year to the next, while civil filings per authorized judgeship dropped from 431 in 2016 to 396 in 2017, the report said.