Nebraska State Constitution Article I-13

Article I-13


Justice administered without delay; Legislature; authorization to enforce mediation and arbitration.

All courts shall be open, and every person, for any injury done him or her in his or her lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due course of law and justice administered without denial or delay, except that the Legislature may provide for the enforcement of mediation, binding arbitration agreements, and other forms of dispute resolution which are entered into voluntarily and which are not revocable other than upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.


  • Neb. Const. art. I, sec. 13 (1875);
  • Amended 1996, Laws 1995, LR 1CA, sec. 1.


1. Not unconstitutional

2. Unconstitutional

3. Miscellaneous

1. Not unconstitutional

The court's incorporation by reference of the conditions of confinement set forth in a doctor's report did not deny access to the district court. State v. Hayden, 233 Neb. 211, 444 N.W.2d 317 (1989).

The exclusive remedy provided by the Workers' Compensation Act satisfies the due process requirements of Neb. Const. art. I, section 3, as well as the requirements of this provision, that every person shall have a remedy by due course of law for any injury done to him or her. Abbott v. Gould, Inc., 232 Neb. 907, 443 N.W.2d 591 (1989).

Statute allowing drainage district two years from ascertainment of compensation by appraisers, within which to enter upon and appropriate the land, does not violate this section. Drainage Dist. No. 1 of Pawnee County v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. R. Co., 96 Neb. 1, 146 N.W. 1055 (1914).

Ruling of district court refusing to allow plaintiff in divorce to proceed with trial without first complying with order for payment of temporary alimony does not contravene Constitution. Reed v. Reed, 70 Neb. 779, 98 N.W. 73 (1904).

Drainage proceedings do not contravene Constitution, because party aggrieved has right of appeal to courts. Dodge County v. Acom, 61 Neb. 376, 85 N.W. 292 (1901).

2. Unconstitutional

Section 25-2602 violates this article to the extent that it provides for arbitration of future disputes. State v. Nebraska Assn. of Pub. Employees, 239 Neb. 653, 477 N.W.2d 577 (1991).

Existence of an emergency does not impair or destroy constitutional limitations, and the mortgage moratorium act is unconstitutional as it contravenes the spirit and terms of this section. First Trust Co. of Lincoln v. Smith, 134 Neb. 84, 277 N.W. 762 (1938); Strehlow v. Krings, 134 Neb. 82, 277 N.W. 784 (1938).

Nonsuiting of plaintiff at close of opening statements to jury violates this section. Temple v. Cotton Transfer Co., 126 Neb. 287, 253 N.W. 349 (1934).

Order of district court in divorce suit, striking out answer of defendant as to dissolution of marriage, and refusing to allow him to defend, except as to the amount of alimony, on account of his failure to comply with order for the payment of temporary alimony, violates the Constitution. McNamara v. McNamara, 86 Neb. 631, 126 N.W. 94 (1910).

County judge cannot require party to pay fees or costs in advance as condition to "performing those services which would be necessary to enable the defendant to press his defense." Douglas County v. Vinsonhaler, 82 Neb. 810, 118 N.W. 1058 (1908).

Dismissal of action by district judge without determination of merits because of fraud or imposition on the court by one of the parties is denial of constitutional rights. Fitch v. Martin, 80 Neb. 60, 113 N.W. 796 (1907).

Statute providing for impaneling of juries which is so incomplete as to render it incapable of accomplishing its purpose, contravenes Constitution and is void. State ex rel. Mickey v. Reneau, 75 Neb. 1, 106 N.W. 451 (1905).

Stipulation in insurance contract which provides that no suit shall be maintained but that all differences shall be adjusted by arbitration is void as contravening this section. Phoenix Ins. Company v. Zlotky, 66 Neb. 584, 92 N.W. 736 (1902); Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Hon, 66 Neb. 555, 92 N.W. 746 (1902).

3. Miscellaneous

This provision does not create any new rights but is merely a declaration of a general fundamental principle. It is a primary duty of the courts to safeguard this declaration of right and remedy, but where no right or remedy exists under either common law or statute, this constitutional provision creates none. Paulk v. Central Lab. Assocs., 262 Neb. 838, 636 N.W.2d 170 (2001).

This constitutional provision does not provide a remedy for ex parte communications. State v. Lotter, 255 Neb. 456, 586 N.W.2d 591 (1998).

Based on this provision, Nebraska courts have held that predispute arbitration agreements are unenforceable; however, this rule cannot be enforced when it conflicts with the laws of the United States. Dowd v. First Omaha Sec. Corp., 242 Neb. 347, 495 N.W.2d 36 (1993).

Legislature may direct claimant to comply with the Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act prior to exercise of court remedy. Prendergast v. Nelson, 199 Neb. 97, 256 N.W.2d 657 (1977).

Pursuant to this section, right of member to sue his union is not dependent upon prior exhaustion of administrative remedies. Poppert v. Brotherhood of R.R. Trainmen, 187 Neb. 297, 189 N.W.2d 469 (1971).

Rule of prior cases, that any change in law exempting charitable hospitals from liability should be made by Legislature, was in violation of this section. Myers v. Drozda, 180 Neb. 183, 141 N.W.2d 852 (1966).

This section does not create any new rights but is merely a declaration of a general fundamental principle. Pullen v. Novak, 169 Neb. 211, 99 N.W.2d 16 (1959).

Right of action against charitable institution was not created. Muller v. Nebraska Methodist Hospital, 160 Neb. 279, 70 N.W.2d 86 (1955).

Right to trial without unreasonable and unnecessary delay is guaranteed. Sullivan v. Storz, 156 Neb. 177, 55 N.W.2d 499 (1952).

Party who invoked special proceeding could not question constitutionality thereof under this section. Lackaff v. Department of Roads & Irrigation, 153 Neb. 217, 43 N.W.2d 576 (1950).

Remedy is afforded unaffected by subsequent death of wrongdoer. Rehn v. Bingaman, 151 Neb. 196, 36 N.W.2d 856 (1949).

Litigants are entitled to access to the courts when they have probable cause for believing an injury has been done to their lands, goods, person or reputation. Fender v. Waller, 139 Neb. 612, 298 N.W. 349 (1941).

Damages to land caused by seepage from a reservoir is an injury to land as set out in this section. Applegate v. Platte Valley Public Power & Irr. Dist., 136 Neb. 280, 285 N.W. 585 (1939).

Guest law does not deprive motorist's guest of protection of constitutional provision but merely changes degree of proof essential to recovery. Clarke v. Weatherly, 131 Neb. 816, 270 N.W. 316 (1936); Rogers v. Brown, 129 Neb. 9, 260 N.W. 794 (1935); Howard v. Gerjevic, 128 Neb. 795, 260 N.W. 273 (1935); Gilbert v. Bryant, 125 Neb. 731, 251 N.W. 823 (1933).

Administrator may bring action for damages after death of intestate for pain and suffering inflicted on deceased, by virtue of self-executing provisions of this section. Wilfong v. Omaha & C. B. St. Ry. Co., 129 Neb. 600, 262 N.W. 537 (1935).

The writ of error coram nobis provides a corrective judicial process that the Constitution guarantees shall not be denied. Carlsen v. State, 129 Neb. 84, 261 N.W. 339 (1935).

Contract of employment providing for arbitration of disputes does not deprive employee of right to seek redress in courts. Rentscheler v. Missouri P. R. R. Co., 126 Neb. 493, 253 N.W. 694 (1934).

Provisions of this section are self-executing in their nature and mandatory upon all courts of this state. Burnham v. Bennison, 121 Neb. 291, 236 N.W. 745 (1931).

In a tax foreclosure proceeding by a county to recover delinquent taxes on land without making purchaser at a prior administrative sale a party, the purchaser at the foreclosure sale buys subject to the right of one having a valid lien upon the premises to redeem from such sale, and the one claiming a lien cannot be barred without a hearing. Smith v. Potter, 92 Neb. 39, 137 N.W. 854 (1912).

A mortgagor should not be permitted, in person or by his will, to raise a controversy over the mortgaged property which will delay enforcement of the mortgage in the event of default in payment thereof. Shackley v. Homer, 87 Neb. 146, 127 N.W. 145 (1910).

Where a party has, without fault or neglect on his part or his attorneys', failed to obtain a transcript for a review on error in this court, a new trial will be granted, if necessary, to secure him his constitutional right. Zweibel v. Caldwell, 72 Neb. 47, 99 N.W. 843 (1904).

This section guarantees a remedy only for such as result from an invasion or infringement of a legal right, or the failure to discharge a legal duty or obligation, and is not a guarantee of a remedy for every species of injury in respect of such matters. Goddard v. City of Lincoln, 69 Neb. 594, 96 N.W. 273 (1903).