August 2, 2010

How long does it take the California Supreme Court to decide a case on the merits?

In our practice, we’re often asked how long it will take the Court to decide a civil case on its merits, assuming review is granted. Rather than simply estimating based on our collective experience, we recently undertook a comprehensive assessment of the Court’s civil cases decided between May 2008 and May 2010 to determine how long it actually takes the Court to process a case from the time a petition for review is filed until the final decision on the merits.

What we found is that the average time to decision in civil cases is 23.5 months, and the median time to decision is 22 months. If the anomalous lowest figure (seven months) and the anomalous highest figure (77 months) are excluded, the time to decision varies from a low of 12 to 13 months up to a high of 39 months, with several cases falling in the 34 to 36 month range. So, it appears safe to say that some cases are decided in just a little over a year and others are decided around the three-year mark, but the average is about two years after the petition for review was filed, give or take a few months.

Leave a Reply