Year Variable

The federal data consist of cases terminated in certain fiscal years, for example, 1979-1997 for the district-court civil cases. For ease of use, however, we employ calendar years as the variable whenever feasible.

So, those data start with cases terminating in the second half of calendar 1978, that is, after the start of fiscal 1979 on July 1, 1978. (Only a few cases with a calendar year of termination prior to 1978 are in the database, their appearance owing to their late reporting to the Administrative Office; output for these years should be ignored, as calendar 1978 is the first reliable year.)

For 1997, the included cases consist of those terminating before October 1, 1997, that is, the start of fiscal 1998. (The end of the fiscal year changed from June 30 to September 30 in 1992, so that the statistics for fiscal 1992 cover 15 months; this is of no concern when you are using calendar years as the variable.)

District-court civil data for all calendar years from 1979 to 1996 are for complete years.

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