New Jersey

State/Local Funding

  • The New Jersey Judiciary is a state funded system. 
  • The state pays for the Appellate Courts and the Administrative Office of the Courts and for the salaries of trial court judges, support staff and clerical staff.  The state pays for technology equipment and operating expenses.  Courthouses and their maintenance are funded locally.  
  • New Jersey’s total state and federal grant appropriation was increased from $848 million in FY12 to $851.4 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation increased from $670.5 million to $673 million, an increase of 1%.  The percent of the state general fund appropriation allocated to the Judiciary decreased from 2.2% to 2.1%.

                1. The amount budgeted above includes a pass through amount of $25.5 million in FY 2012 and $26.5 million
                    in FY 2013 for the New Jersey State Department of Human Services for the Executive Branches portion of
                    funding for Drug Court patients.

                2. There is an increase of $2.5 million for the expansion of New Jersey’s drug court program to include 
                    mandatory entry.  Of the $2.5 million, $1.0 million is to be passed through to the New Jersey State 
                    Department of Human Services of the Executive Branch and the remaining $1.5 million is for the State 
                    Judiciary to use to expand the program.

  • Over the past four years, technology funding has decreased 4%.
  • Over the past four years, fees have remained the same.
  • The budget situation in the next three years is likely to get worse.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch does not present its budget directly to the legislature.  The New Jersey State Judiciary submits its budget request to the Executive Branch’s Department of Treasury.  There are then hearings with and approval from the Legislative Branch.
  • The Judicial Branch has budget authority to manage and administer appropriated funds without restrictions of detailed budget line items.  With the exception of specific Special Purpose accounts, the Judiciary is allocated a set amount of funds and is responsible for the administration and allocation of those funds statewide.
  • The FY13 budget is not sufficient to enable the courts to provide or enhance necessary technology to meet the demands of the public.  The reduction in the technology budget has delayed the implementation of e-courts for all case types.  The funding available is not adequate to make significant enhancements to the IT Systems.
  • The introduction of technologies has enabled the courts and others to provide and receive enhanced court services.  There have been several technological enhancements such as e-filing for landlord/tenant cases, attorney on-line registrations, and on-line juror registration that have enhanced court services.

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels: 

  • Over the past four years, the number of judges has remained the same.  The number of trial court staff persons decreased 2%.  The number of central office staff persons increased 2%.  Trial court operating expenses remained the same.
  • In FY13, the number of judges will remain the same, the number of trial court and central office staff will decline 2%.  The amount spent on trial court operating expenses will remain the same.

Service Reductions: 

  • Over the past four years, the New Jersey courts delayed filling judicial vacancies and vacancies in judicial support positions.  They will continue to delay filling vacancies in judicial support positions in FY13.
  • These actions have resulted in resources being diverted from civil to other mandatory case types.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the New Jersey courts have furloughed and reduced the salaries of court staff.  Court executive (managers) salaries were frozen for three years, ending in FY2010.

Efficiency Measures:  The New Jersey courts have partially implemented e-court.  They have and will continue to implement e-filing, an electronic document management system, electronic workflow, e-citations by law enforcement agencies, e-payment of fines and fees, a virtual self-help center, and a virtual web-based information center to provide public access to court records.

Restructuring:  The New Jersey courts have reallocated judges based upon weighted caseload, have reallocated staff and use part-time and off-hours workers and will continue these steps in FY13.

Business Practices:  New Jersey has implemented an enhanced caseflow management program and has transitioned and will continue to transition to digital recording of court proceedings.  They are videoconferencing arraignments for incarcerated defendants and will expand in FY13. 

Outsourcing: The New Jersey courts have outsourced the collection of fines, penalties, bail and fees.  They have outsourced the provision of language access services and will expand in FY13.

Centralization: 

  • The New Jersey courts have implemented a centralized call center and will expand in FY13.

New Jersey has established a special committee to review budget and staffing issues.

The New Jersey courts are in a better position than in FY09 to provide access and timely justice as they have put into place several technological enhancements such as e-filing for landlord/ tenant cases, attorney on-line registrations, and on-line juror registration.

If additional funding becomes available, it will be first allocated towards improving e-courts and other technological improvements and then attaining a full staffing compliment as needed.

Reports and Articles

Gavel to Gavel

  • Database. Search the Gavel to Gavel legislation database based on state, year, legislation category, or any combination.