The Future of the Michigan Business Courts?

By: Jewell Briggs, Journal Staff Member

In his article, Transforming Nevada into the Judicial Delaware of the West, Joshua Halen traces the evolution of the Nevada Business Courts since creation in 1999. There were overwhelming rationales for establishing the focused courts. However, as Halen details, the Nevada Business Courts have not meet expectations, nor have the courts been competitive with similar out-of-state courts. Halen recommends that the State Legislature of Nevada replace the current dual court system with a single court that has statewide jurisdiction and hears only business cases. Halen would further require judges be appointed by the Governor and all opinions in all non-jury matters to be published. Moreover, Halen would give greater flexibility to the court and the parties in choosing to or not to have proceedings before a jury.

In the State of Michigan, Public Act 333 requires state circuit courts with three or more judges to create specialized business courts. Public Act 333 was effective on October 17, 2012 and implemented in 2013, several years after the creation of the Nevada Business Courts. In opposition of Halen’s recommendations, in the State of Michigan each of the circuit courts has the authority to establish their own case management practices, and the business courts are a special dockets within the established circuit courts rather than bonafide independent business courts. Contrarily, in accordance with Halen’s recommendations opinions from the Michigan business courts are indexed and available freely to the public online and business court judges are appointed by the Michigan Supreme court.

The mixed adherence to Halen’s recommendations begs the questions: how will the infant Michigan Business Courts fare in the years to come?