North Carolina

State/Local Funding

  • The North Carolina 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 for the courts and for local courthouses and equipment.

State Revenue and Appropriations

  • North Carolina’s total state and federal grant appropriation was reduced from $465 million in FY12 to $458 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation was reduced from $439 million to $432 million, 2.2% of the total state general fund.
  • The budget situation in the next three years is likely to stay relatively the same.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch does not present the Judiciary’s budget request directly to the Legislative body without prior approval by the Executive Branch
  • The Judicial Branch does not have authority to manage and administer appropriated funds without restrictions of detailed budget line items.  Under North Carolina law, the Judicial Branch utilizes funds in accordance with the state budget act which applies to all state agencies, universities and the Judicial Branch.
  • The FY13 budget does not enable the courts to provide and enhance necessary technology to meet the demands of the public. 

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses:  In this fiscal year, the number of judges, trial court clerical staff and central office staff and the amount spent on trial court operating expenses will remain the same.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, salaries of court staff have been frozen. 

Service Reductions:  Over the past four years, the North Carolina courts have had staff layoffs, and have delayed filling judicial vacancies and vacancies in the clerks’ offices and in judicial support positions.  They have reduced the use of retired judges, delayed jury trials and reduced operational expenditures by restricting travel and by limiting the purchases of supplies and equipment.  These service reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to the courts and increased delays and backlogs.

Efficiency Measures:  The North Carolina courts have implemented an electronic document management system, e-citations by law enforcement agencies and e-payment of fees and fines.

The North Carolina courts are in a worse position than in FY09 to provide access and timely justice.

Reports and Articles

Gavel to Gavel

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