Civil procedure is the rules and process by which a civil case is tried and appealed, including the preparations for trial, the rules of evidence and trial conduct, and the procedure for pursuing appeals.
Civil procedure is an area of law covering issues of the structure of a lawsuit in civil court. Relevant issues areas in civil procedure include:
- Personal jurisdiction (quasi in rem, in rem, and most importantly in personam),
- Choice of law, both horizontal (across state lines) and vertical (federally, using the Erie Doctrine),
- Federal subject matter jurisdiction, including pendant jurisdiction per 18 U.S.C. s. 1367,
- Service and notice,
- Issue Preclusion and Claim Preclusion, referred to at times as collateral estoppel (mutual and non-mutual, offensive and defensive) and res judicata,
- Joinder, including mass joinder in class action,
- Attorney conduct such as attorney fees, and,
- General motion practice.
Supreme Court jurisprudence tackles these issues occasionally, but frequently uses the questions they raise as proxies for arguing grounds such as procedural due process and federalism, such as the problem of transitory physical presence and the Erie Doctrine. Especially notable for their opinions in this matter are Justices Antonin Scalia and William Brennan (often at odds with each other).
Civil procedure is taught as a first-year law course at most ABA accredited law schools.