How Many Court Cases Are Filed Each Year (2024)

Explore the annual caseload of the U.S. federal judiciary and its impact on justice and the rule of law in this insightful article.

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The Role of Federal Judges and Jurisdiction

Before delving into the statistics, it's important to understand the role of United States federal judges and the concept of jurisdiction, which gives federal courts the authority to hear and decide cases. Federal judges preside over a wide range of cases, from civil disputes to criminal trials, and their decisions have a profound impact on individuals and society as a whole.

Examining the Caseload

To gain insights into the caseload of the federal judiciary, we turn to the Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics for the year 2021, compiled by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. These statistics provide a comprehensive overview of the workload across various federal court levels, including appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, as well as the probation and pretrial services systems.

Key Findings

  • Appellate Courts:
    • In 2021, there was an 8 percent decrease in filings in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
    • This reduction was driven by declines in civil and criminal appeals, albeit with some notable exceptions.
    • Appeals related to administrative agency decisions, such as those from the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), saw an 18 percent increase.
  • District Courts:
    • The U.S. District Courts experienced a significant surge in filings of civil cases, with a 39 percent increase in 2021.
    • Much of this growth was attributed to personal injury cases, particularly those related to multidistrict litigation.
    • However, filings for criminal defendants fell by 30 percent during the same year.

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  • Bankruptcy Courts:
    • Filings of bankruptcy petitions decreased by 38 percent in 2021.
    • This decline was primarily a result of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Chapter 13 filings experienced a substantial drop of 57.5 percent, while Chapter 11 filings increased by 9.2 percent.
  • Pretrial Services:
    • The pretrial services system witnessed a 41 percent decrease in cases opened in 2021.
    • The pandemic played a significant role in this reduction.
    • The number of defendants received for supervision also decreased by 11 percent.


The annual caseload of the United States federal judiciary is subject to various factors, including legal trends, societal events, and changes in federal policies. These statistics highlight the dynamic nature of the federal court system and its adaptation to evolving circumstances.

Federal judges, through their dedicated service, continue to ensure that justice is served in accordance with the law and jurisdiction granted by the Constitution and federal statutes. For a more in-depth analysis and comprehensive statistics on the federal judicial caseload for 2021, you can refer to the official source provided by the U.S. Courts:

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. Its purpose is to offer a general overview of the caseload statistics of the United States federal judiciary for the year 2021. Readers seeking specific legal or professional guidance should consult with qualified legal professionals or relevant authorities.

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Research Team


At the intersection of public safety, and consumer rights. Consumer Shield Research Team is deeply focused in dissecting the U.S. market, focusing on how information dissemination influences consumer safety and decision-making.

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