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Civil Procedure: Home

A guide designed for first year law students on the MU Law Library's resources regarding the Law of Civil Procedure.


CALI (Computer Assisted Legal Instruction) has several good interactive lessons pertaining to Civil Procedure here.

You will need your student password, which can be obtained at the reference desk or computer lab or IT help desks. 

Below is a list of subjects which may help you in your classwork, along with their links.  Many more subjects are available at the CALI link above.


Lessons: Civil Procedure

Completion time: 1.5 hours

Completion time: 2 hours

Completion time: 1.5 hours

Completion time: 1.5 hours

Exam Bank

Professors Dessem, Esbeck, and Oliveri all have sample exams listed in our online exam bank. Professor Esbeck has retired.

Subject Explanation

Civil Procedure: An Overview

Broadly speaking, civil procedure consists of the rules by which courts conduct civil trials. "Civil trials" concern the judicial resolution of claims by one individual or group against another and are to be distinguished from "criminal trials," in which the state prosecutes an individual for violation of criminal law.

"Procedure" is to be distinguished from "substantive law" in that substantive law defines the rights and duties of everyday conduct. Substantive law includes contract law, tort law, and so on.

A procedural system provides the mechanism for applying substantive law to real disputes. A good procedural system should provide guidelines as to what information is received by the judge or jury, and how that information is to be presented. A good procedural system ensures that similar cases will be treated similarly by the courts.

Under the American "common law" system, the initial burden is on the complaining party (the "Plaintiff") to file suit in court. The Plaintiff also has the initial burden of demonstrating he or she has a legitimate claim.

In America, civil procedure usually takes the form of a series of rules and judicial practices. The federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; the state courts follow their own state rules of civil procedure.  However, the FRCPs only take up about one-third of the Civil Procedcure course.

Text and links copied from LII's (Cornell University Law School) Civil Procedure page, with some well-founded edits from our faculty.  Links will take you to definitions and/or further explanations of the terms highlighted by Cornell Law.



Audio Resources


Databases and Electronic Resources

Log in to each database first then click the link to access the resource.


Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules and Commentary



Moore's Manual: Federal Practice and Procedure