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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Business Courts Begin Statewide in January

Governor Rick Snyder
Here in Oakland County, we've had an operational business court pilot since April 1, 2012.  This week, Governor Rick Snyder signed HB 5128 into law, amending portions of the Revised Judicature Act to rescind the so-called "cyber courts" [an idea that was never clear and never got off the ground], and replacing those specialized tribunals with "business courts" for all county circuit courts with more than 3 judges.

The central idea behind the specialized tribunals is to require electronic case and document filings.  According to the recent Senate Fiscal Agency analysis, the business courts would:
  • Have exclusive jurisdiction over all business or commercial disputes with an amount in controversy in excess of $25,000;
  • Any cause of action arising, in whole or in part, from a business or commercial dispute would be assigned to the business court;
  • Require all circuit courts with more than 3 sitting judges to submit a plan for the implementation of a business tribunal to the State Court Administrative Office; 
  • Counties with fewer than 3 judges have the option of submitting an administrative order for SCAO review for a specialized business court with concurrent jurisdiction with the county trial court;
  • Cases will be assigned to business court judges via a blind draw;
  • Business court cases are required to be filed electronically;
  • Require that the judges assigned to the business courts be trained by the Michigan Judicial Institute; and
  • Any cases that are pending on the various county pilot programs remain on that docket until they are completed. 
Presently, there are several "specialized" courts operational here in Michigan.  Each county has a family court, a probate court, and a court of general jurisdiction.  All district courts have a "small claims" division where people can bring disputes without lawyers.  Some county and district courts have "sobriety courts" focusing on treatment over incarceration.  And some counties have Veterans' court and adult treatment courts.

We will see if this new specialized court prunes the docket of the county courts of general jurisdiction.  Here at the Law Blogger, this seems like a good idea.

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