Judicial Administration

Judicial Administration

The practices, procedures, and offices that deal with the management of the administrative systems of the courts.

Judicial administration, also referred to as court administration, is concerned with the day-to-day and long-range activities of the court system. Every court in the United States has some form of administrative structure that seeks to enhance the work of judges and to provide services to attorneys and citizens who use the judicial system. Since the 1970s the administration of the courts has played a central role in the judiciary's response to increased court filings and shrinking budgets.

The administration of the courts has traditionally been concerned with overseeing budgets, selecting juror pools, assigning judges to cases, creating court calendars of activities, and supervising nonjudicial personnel. Often administrative decisions are made by judges, either individually or as a group. Clerks of court, now more commonly known as court administrators, and their staff are called on to accept the filing of court documents, to maintain a file system of cases and a record of all final judgments, and to process paperwork generated by judges.

Early in the twentieth century, Roscoe Pound, a noted jurist and scholar, called for the reform of court administration to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and consistency in the judicial system. Nevertheless, few systematic attempts to modernize and rationalize courts were made until the early 1970s. In 1971 the creation of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC)—an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of justice—provided local and state courts with technical assistance on how to modernize. The NCSC, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, was started at the urging of Chief Justice warren e. burger, who saw a need for leadership in this field.

The staffing of administrative personnel in the courts has changed since the 1970s. The Institute for Court Management (ICM), a division of the NCSC, develops court leaders through education, training, and a court executive development program. The ICM has provided valuable assistance to thousands of court administrators in the United States, disseminating information on new methods and techniques of court administration. More court administrators now have college and advanced degrees, and many have attended law school.

Judicial administration has largely been taken over by court managers. State courts are organized at the state level, under the direction of a state court administrator. State court administration oversees legislative budgets, personnel administration, and court research and planning. Planning for the future is an integral part of the administrative agenda. The federal courts are organized somewhat differently. There is at least one U.S. district court in each state, but states with larger populations have two or more. There is a clerk of court in each federal district who has duties similar to that of a state court administrator.

Court administrators explore alternative ways of managing court cases, often by statistical research. Various systems of case management are employed in the United States, but the trend has been to seek methods that reduce the amount of time a case remains active in the courts. Consequently, judges often have less control over their time as court managers set out the work that must be accomplished.

Computers have also reshaped the administration of the courts. Before the 1980s courts recorded everything on paper. With the integration of computers and database software, case information is now recorded and retrieved electronically. The use of new technology has improved the efficiency of court administration. Appellate courts distribute court opinions and court rules through computer bulletin boards and the Internet. Some courts allow access to their database information through computer modems.

Another function of judicial administration is to eliminate bias. Many state court systems have appointed committees and task forces to investigate racial and gender bias in the courts. Court administrators have been charged with developing ways of eliminating bias, ensuring diversity in the court system, and providing easier access to the courts for pro se litigants, also called pro per litigants in some jurisdictions, (persons representing themselves without an attorney). The certification of court interpreters for testimony given in languages other than English has emerged as a leading issue in court administration.

New divisions of administrative oversight have developed since the 1970s. Offices of Professional Responsibility, which administer and investigate ethical complaints against lawyers, are commonplace. Many states require that lawyers take Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses so as to maintain professional competence. Offices have been created in state court administration to accredit CLE programs and to monitor compliance by lawyers.

References in periodicals archive ?
It must act to establish rule of law in accordance with the constitution' she told a reception accorded to newly appointed Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain at the Judicial Administration Training Institute(JATI).
He also highlighted the role of judicial administration for provision of justice and urged upon them to be polite to the litigants.
Delegations of the Norwegian Judicial Administration and the Trial Chamber of the Netherlands visited the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC BiH).
As expected, the petition was not accepted and shockingly enough the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) suspended all signatories, which together reportedly make up a third of all practicing lawyers in the Maldives, over charges of contempt and for gathering in a manner that "obstructs the independence of justice system.
The recommendations of the Commission will help in promoting efficiency in Judicial Administration, optimising the size of judiciary etc.
The Supreme Judicial Council is preparing a 3 to 7% increase in magistrate salaries and judicial administration.
The purpose of this contract is the evolution of the systems of the Electronic Judicial Administration and the portal http://xustiza.
FCTC member Murray Silverstein, who heads a joint FCTC/Bar Rules of Judicial Administration Workgroup, presented an extensive report that covered FCTC technical policies, various court procedural rules, and a discussion on what constitutes official court records.
After serving as president of DLSU-Araneta, he returned to UP in 2002 as associate dean of College of Law and head of the UP Law Center and Director of the Institute of Judicial Administration until May 2006.
The system of legalized and state-sponsored plunder he describes was not some age-old practice finally coming to light, he says, but emerged in tandem with the transformations in judicial administration and in the historical record itself.
The Judicial Administration and Evaluation Committee, referred to as the JAEC, worked diligently in the 2015-2016 Bar year to promote the online Judicial Feedback program for which the committee is responsible.
The Consortium has four founding members - the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, the Federal Judicial Centre, The National Centre for State Courts, and the State Courts of Singapore.