Specialty courts in Arizona and elsewhere are nothing new. At the Superior Court level in Arizona there are specific judges assigned solely to handle family law cases, criminal cases, juvenile offenses, tax matters, and probate related matters. Soon, Arizona may have a court dedicated solely to handling certain types of business related cases.
Arizona State Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch initiated this idea. She indicated that commercial cases often consume a lot of a court’s time and can be very expensive for the court and the parties. Chief Justice Berch appointed a committee to investigate what a business court would look like and what it could accomplish in Arizona. The current vision for this court would be that it would handle cases where one business is suing another business. It is possible that the first such court would be in Phoenix and would be experimental in nature.
It was pointed out by the chairman of the new committee investigating the creation of such a court, that often businesses have mutual interests such as minimizing expenses and keeping expenses in proportion to the matters at issue as well as getting all the matters resolved both fairly and expeditiously.
The chairman of the committee pointed out that the court would be familiar with the issues surrounding discovery in business cases where often times the information requested can be massive –terabytes of data, not just file cabinets.
It was pointed out that there is certainly expense involved in creating such a court, such as hiring a judge and staff and providing facilities. However, it was also noted that the costs of such a court can be outweighed by the net benefit to the public by keeping such cases out of the regular civil system and making the process faster for all concerned.
The recommendations of the committee investigating this type of court are due to the Arizona Supreme Court in December 2014. This could be the start of a new era for business law in Arizona. It could help change the old adage that the wheels of justice grind slowly. We’ll have to wait and see about that.