Judicial Administration

Resource Guide

While the role of a judge is to ensure that individuals receive prompt and impartial hearings, they likewise are responsible for a variety of administrative functions required for the smooth management of cases necessary to maintain and uphold the courts. Judicial administration requires not only legal expertise, but knowledge of how the court system functions, as well as procedural and managerial techniques that ensure a speedy and efficient court system.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.


Featured Links

Judging in 2020: In a Courthouse or in Cyberspace?.

Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference. Compares the use of technology in the courtroom today with the use of technology in the courtroom in the year 2020.

Ostrom, Brian J., Matthew Kleiman, and Roger A. Hanson. The High Performance Court Framework. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts. This article highlights essential aspects of a recent publication by the National Center for State Courts, Achieving High Performance: A Framework for Courts. The objective is to summarize the Framework’s concepts, identify their practical significance for judges and administrators, and connect the Framework to the larger, continuing trend of court reform.
Clarke, John A. and Bryan D. Borys. Usability Is Free: Improving Efficiency by Making the Court More User Friendly. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts. Court managers will need a broader array of service-delivery strategies as courts face increasing demands and fewer resources. The standard solution, to hire more staff as intermediaries, is becoming increasingly infeasible, and the user-friendly court, relying more on court users to participate in service delivery, will become a more important strategy.
The History of the Conference of Chief Justices 1949 - 2009.

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of CCJ.

Judicial Roles

Kunkel, Tara and Alicia Davis. York County, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Administrative Office Review. (January 2012). National Center for State Courts.

In 2012, the York County Court Administrator's Office will undergo significant turnover as several long-serving and key personnel, including the Court Administrator, retire. As part of the transition process, the Court of Common Pleas not only needs to develop a management structure that supports essential functions and provides for a backup system at the management and operational level, but also needs to address concerns such as limited court space and consumer demand for automated processes.

Hall, Daniel J. Principles of Judicial Administration: The Lens of Change. (2011). Future Trends in State Courts 2011.

Courts nationwide are making do with fewer resources even in the face of rising caseloads. A set of principles is needed to guide the courts as they restructure their operations in the face of budget challenges.

Hall, Daniel. Principles for Judicial Administration. (July 2012). The National Center for State Courts and State Justice Institute.

These are practical operational principles that are intended to assist chief justices and state court administrators-as well as presiding judges and trial court administrators in locally funded jurisdictions-as they address the long-term budget shortfalls and the inevitable restructuring of court services.

Van Duizend, Richard; David Steelman; Lee Suskin. Model Time Standards for State Trial Courts. (2011).

The time to disposition standards set forth in this document, based on a review of the experience of state courts, are intended to establish a reasonable set of expectations for the courts, for lawyers, and for the public.

Udi Sommer. Beyond Defensive Denials: Evidence from the Blackmun files of a Broader Scope of Strategic Certiorari. (2010). Justice System Journal 31, no.3.

This study evaluates strategic explanations for citations to non-authoritative sources by judges by examining the citation of law review articles by U.S. courts of Appeals judges.

Dona Roy and Donald R. Songer. Does the Attitudinal Model Explain Unanimous Reversals?. (2010). Justice System Journal 31, no.3

This article examines the claim that the political attitudes of the justices on the Supreme Courthas a significant impact on many outcomes adopted by the court.

Salmon A. Shomade and Roger E. Hartley. The Application of Network Analysis to the Study of Trial Courts. (2010). Justice System Journal 31, no.2.

This article explores the use of network analysis to examine the organizational linkages and structure of trial courts.  After reviewing the literature on trial courts and recent cxourt reforms, the authors make a case for the utility of this methodological approach.

R. Dale Lefever. The Integration of Judicial Independence and Judicial Administration: The Role of Collegiality in Court Governance. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010.

Can courts have both judicial independence and effective court administration?  This articles discusses how a collegial approach might be the best way to resolve this "conflict."

The Role of the Judge. (January 2007). Center for Court Innovation This article discusses the impact a judge's interaction with defendants has on the likelihood that the defendants will comply with the court's orders.
Sampson, Kathleen M. Handbook for Judges: An Anthology of Inspirational and Educational Readings. (2004). Chicago: American Judicature Society This handbook highlights qualities of an effective judge, the general work of a judge, and  the evolution of the judicial reform movement. (KF211 .A53 2004)
Steelman, David. Judge Shopping and Random Assignment of Cases to Judges. (January 2003). Court Services Division.

NCSC memorandum on Judicial Assignment.

Hanson, Roger. The Changing Role of the Judge and Its Implications. (Winter 2002). Court Review 38, no. 4: 10 This article attempts to encourage dialogue on the past, present, and future of the role of a judge.
State of Delaware Justice of the Peace Court: Briefing Report on Civil Court Operations. (October 2001). Court Services Divison.

This report was created to review the operation of the Justice of the Peace Courts, review the operation and function of constables, review security at civil courts, and assess the current methods used for assigning civil court staff.

Steelman, David, Penelope Wentland and Honorable Jeffrey Arnold. Caseflow Management and Judge Assignments for Criminal Cases in Minnesota's Fourth District Court (Hennepin County). (October 1999). Court Services Division.

This report addresses the caseflow management needs of the Hennepin County court system.

Fautsko, Timothy. Overview of Court Operations in the 8-hour, 16-hour, and 24-hour Courts: Briefing Report. (February 1999).

This report for the State of Delaware Justice of the Peace Court analyzes the workflow of the Court's Voluntary Assessment Center, reviews the organizational structure and services provided by the Administrative Office of the Justice of the Peace Court, and assesses the current methods used for assigning staff in the court system.

Flango, Carol, Victor Flango and H. Ted Rubin. How Are Courts Coordinating Family Cases?. (1999).

For one judge to hear a particular family law case from start to finish is advantageous because it concentrates all the information in one person, and reduces the changes of inconsistencies.

Tobin, Robert W. Creation of an Administrative Infostructure: The Trial Court Component. (1998). Creating the Judicial Branch: The Unfinished Reform, National Center for State Courts The author analyzes general trial court structure to explain the interaction and roles of judges and court administration on the state court level.  (KF8700 T63 2004)

Judicial Careers

Diversifying the Bench Guide Book: How to Become a Judicial Officer. (March 2011). The Washington State Minority and Justice Commission.

The information contained in this guidebook has been assembled to provide helpful information to those considering a judicial career and as a training resource.

Jaffe, Peter G. et al. Vicarious Trauma in Judges: The Personal Challenge of Dispensing Justice. (Fall 2006). The Judges` Journal 45, no. 4: 12 Vicarious trauma (VT) is trauma experienced by professionals as a result of working with victims of trauma.  This article describes VT and how it is different from posttraumatic stress disorder and burnout, explains a study on VT symptoms experienced by judges, and identifies coping strategies for VT.  (KF200 A456)
Miller, Monica K. and James T. Richardson. A Model of Causes and Effects of Judicial Stress. (Fall 2006). The Judges` Journal 45, no. 4: 20 Judges experience many stressors that are unique to their career field.  The authors of this article create a model of judicial stress that identifies the major stressors and safety concerns and their potential personal and career effects for both judges and the judicial system.  (KF200 A456) 
Childers, Hon. Robert L. Got Stress? Using CoLAP and Its New Judicial Assistance Project. (Fall 2006). The Judges` Journal 45, no. 4:1 Written by the presiding judge of the Shelby County (Tennessee) Circuit Court, Division Nine, this article describes the program established by the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance (CoLAP) that focuses on "helping judges who may be depressed, chemically dependent, or have other mental health conditions that impair judicial performance."  (KF 200 A456) 
Bremer, Hon. Celeste F. Reducing Judicial Stress Through Mentoring. (March 2004). Judicature 87, no 5: 244 Written by a U.S. magistrate judge in the Southern District of Iowa, this article describes sources of stress and several coping strategies.  It also explains a study of two groups of judges in the 2001 FJC's New Judge Orientation Course and how they responded to surveys on judicial occupational stress.  (KF200 J8)
Zimmerman, Isaiah M. Isolation in the Judicial Career. (Winter 2000). Court Review 36, no. 4: 4 Because of heavy workloads and numerous other factors, many judges often have feelings of isolation from friends and family.  The author of this article is a clinical psychologist, and he addresses the isolation process, how judges' personality traits exacerbate feelings of isolation, and steps to minimize it.

Benchbooks

Benchbook for Judges & Court Personnel. (2012). Interstate Commission for Juveniles.

This benchbook refers to the most recent major revision of the ICJ first published as model legislation by the Council of State Governments (CSG) in 2004 and now in effect in 46 jurisdictions as a replacement for the 1955 compact. The Revised ICJ contains transition provisions to manage the relationship between states that continue to operate under the 1955 ICJ and those that have adopted the Revised ICJ.

Mayor`s Court Handbook. (February 2008). Louisiana Municipal Organization This handbook is intended to review relevant statutes, constitutional laws, cases, opinions from the Attorney General, etc. which affect the Mayor’s Court. The handbook also defines the jurisdiction and briefly details the history of the Mayor’s Court.
Academy of Court Appointed Masters Benchbook. (March 2006). Academy of Court Appointed Masters

The Academy of Court-Appointed Masters (ACAM) has developed the ACAM Bench Book to illustrate how to use masters and other judicial adjuncts to effectively and efficiently handle legal matters.

Wood, Lawrence. Illinois Eviction Court Benchbook. (February 2001). Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago This Benchbook guide provides guidance on the following topics dealing with landlord/tenant relations: the propriety of granting a landlord's motion for use and occupancy; whether a tenant can cure a criminal lease violation; or the circumstances under which an agreed order may be vacated.
Judicial Officer Benchbook. (1990). California Municipal Court (Los Angeles Judicial District) Judge`s Education Committee A handbook of how judicial officers are supposed to carry themselves.  The book has six chapters, each focusing on a certain aspect or arena of judicial responsibility: including ethics, appointments, and guilty pleas among others.  The book’s key section is its comprehensive use of precedents, each of which is discussed in how it established a certain facet of the ideal judicial officer in today’s California.  (KFC971 .L6 C35)
Missouri Benchbook: Circuit Court - Municipal Divisions. (1990). Missouri Supreme Court, Subcommittee on Training and Certification of Municipal Judges A detailed handbook of how judges should act in terms of ethics and decision-making while in Missouri .  Numerous topics are included in the book, covering everything from pretrial proceedings and jurisdiction to sentencing and local court rules.  To help with those intimidated by its size and amount of details, a comprehensive index is provided at the end of the book.  (KFM8318 .A65 M56)
Criminal Justice Standards Benchbook for Special Court Judges. (1982). 3rd Ed. Washington, DC: American Bar Association A how-to-do book for special court judges who find themselves in uncertain circumstances.  Issues included are Pleas, Plea Bargains, Trial Guidelines, Judge Duties, Keeping Decorum, Sentencing, and Probation.  The end of the book includes checklists to help judges make the process easier for themselves. (KF9619.3 .A53 1982)
JEC Benchbook/Guides. Rozier E. Sanchez Judicial Education Center of New Mexico

The Judicial Education Center provides benchbooks on various subjects, including domestic violence, DWI, and magistrate and municipal courts.

New Mexico Municipal Court Manual.

Rozier E. Sanchez Judicial Education Center of New Mexico

The New Mexico Municipal Court Manual provides magistrate and metropolital court judges with the information they need to perform their judicial duties.  The benchbook is essentially a procedures manual rather than a treatise on the law and is intended to provide a general explanation of the law and procedure.

Judicial Education

Suskin, Lee. A Case Study: Reengineering Utah's Courts through the Lens of the Principles for Judicial Administration. (February 2012). The National Center for State Courts and State Justice Institute.

This case study provides a road map for state court systems throughout the country illustrating how judicial leaders can take steps to establish an effective governance model that enables the delivery of justice in accordance with the Principles for Judicial Administration.

Keilitz, Ingo and John Meeks. A Global Academy of Court Executive Education and Development. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts.

This article outlines the premise and promise of a global initiative to help judicial systems and judicial education institutions provide court executive education, training, and professional development for judges and non-judge managers of courts.

Meeks, John and Diane Cowdrey Blended Learning in Judicial Education: Increased Effectiveness, Reduced Cost. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts.

Distance learning has become more commonplace in the courts, even though most education is still done in traditional classroom settings. The trend in many states is toward a blended approach, using a variety of education methods, both distance and traditional, to achieve better, more cost-effective results.

Tull, M. Christy and Ann A. O'Connell. Investments in Human Capital Pay Dividends for Courts. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts.

Every year, state judicial systems face an increasingly diverse population grappling with a rapidly expanding and ever-evolving body of law. Our system races to incorporate new technology to provide the instant service the public increasingly expects while state budgets continue to decrease.

Joseph R. Sawyer. Judicial Education and Distance Learning: An Economic Imperative. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts 2010.

This article discusses how distance learning is becoming more and more prominent as budgetary cutbacks and technological innovations has required judicial educators to rethink and reengineer how they deliver education.

Noreen Sharp. Judicial Formation: A Step Beyond Education or Training for New Judges. (2008). Justice System Journal 29, no.1.

This article discusses how Arizona courts have used "Judicial Formation" to better prepare new judges for their work.  Content of the sessions included Personal Growth, Inspiration, Cultural Competency, Listening and Emotional Intelligence, The View from the Eyes of the Presiding Judge and Wisdom from Retiring Judges

Claudia Fernandes and Lisa Galdos. State Courts: Are You Ready for the Future of Judicial Branch Education?. (2008). Future Trends in State Courts 2008.

Nationwide, the future of judicial branch education is impacted by a series of significant factors which will dramatically impact state courts: 1) more than 50 percent of the workforce may retire within the next 3–5 years, draining institutional knowledge; 2) future generations will differ in their career expectations; and 3) budget constraints continue to hamper judicial branch educational efforts.

Ericksen, Chuck A. Trends in Judicial Education. (2006). Future Trends in State Courts.

Judicial education has undergone significant changes, and as the field nears its 50th anniversary, revisiting the fundamental role of judicial education is as important today as ever. It is equally important to examine the emerging trends and ask what judicial education will look like at the end of the next fifty years.

Principles and Standards of Judicial Branch Education. (December 2001). National Association of State Judicial Educators This document is a revision of NASJE's previous work identifying core principles and standards for judicial branch education efforts.  This updated version includes standards for staff education, new principles to address modern needs, and reflects current trends in judical branch education.   

Administrative Law Judges

Results-Oriented Cultures: Office of Personnel Management Should Review Administrative Law Judge Program to Improve Hiring and Performance Management. (January 2010). U.S. Government Accountability Office

The U.S. utilizes greater than 1,400 Administrative Law Judges (ALJ's) in at least 25 different agencies.  The Government Accountability Office has released a report urging a close look at hiring and performance management processes applicable to ALJ's.

Cane, Peter. Administrative Tribunals and Adjudication. (2009). Hart Publishing K3410.C36 2009
Revised Model State Administrative Procedure Act. (July 2006). National Conference of Commissioners on State Laws (NCCUSL). Santa Fe, NM This is a working draft.  For more information about the NCCUSL working group, please see the NCCUSL site.
Oakley, Lois F. Administrative Law Judges `Ride the Circuit` to Provide Georgians with a Day in Court. (February 2004). Georgia Bar Journal: 19 The author explains the duties, origins, geographic distribution, and best practices (including mediation and "circuit riding" for special cases) of administrative law judges employed by the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings.
Mullins, Morell. Manual for Administrative Law Judges: 2001 Interim Internet Edition. (2001). Washington, DC: Administrative Conference of the United States A more recent edition was published in the Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges 23 (2004). 
Ethical Standards for Administrative Law Judges. (February 1996). Lectric Law Library: State of California Tentative Recommendation This recommendation proposes to adapt the California Code of Judicial Ethics (1996) to govern the hearing and nonhearing conduct of state administrative law judges.
Rich, Malcolm and Wayne E. Brucar. The Central Planning System for Administrative Law Judges: A Survey of Seven States. (1983). Chicago: American Judicature Society

This book highlights the central panel system for administrative law judges in seven states and investigates how each state molded the panel system to suit its political and economic environment.  (KF5417 .R5)

Quasi Judicial Officers

Atlantic County Surrogate. Atlantic County, New Jersey The Surrogate’s primary functions relate to the determination of validity of wills, appointments of administrators of estates and guardians of minors.
Chancellors. Knox County Tennessee, Chancery Court The site provides information on the location of Chancery Courts, filing fees, specific information regarding Chancery juries, local rules enforced by the Courts, and parking specific questions.
Chancery Court Clerk/Master. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee

Chancery Court is a court of equity that hears such matters as constitutional issues, contract disputes, real property matters including sales, guardianships, conservatorships, workers compensation, emancipation of minors, and name changes. 

Commissioners Court. Bexar County, Texas The Commissioners Court, which is composed of the County Judge and four Commissioners, is the overall managing/governing body of Bexar County.
Consenting to Magistrate Jurisdiction in the District of Oregon. (May 2008). United States District Court, District of Oregon Magistrate Judges play a unique and indispensable role in the assignment, management and trial of civil cases. Since 1979, the parties in a civil action have had the opportunity of consenting to have all aspects of their case, including trial, handled by a Magistrate Judge.
Federal Magistrate Judges Association. This site provides information for US federal magistrates and provides questions in relation to the federal judiciary, as well as statistics on the number of magistrates, caseload, types of cases, etc in the federal judiciary.
For Commissioners: Continuing Education. Wisconsin Court System This site details and outlines the Supreme Court Rule number 75 which established a compulsory continuing education requirement for court commissioners.
Judges. Delaware State Courts The Court of Chancery consists of one chancellor and four vice chancellors. The chancellor and vice chancellors are nominated by the Governor and must be confirmed by the Senate for 12-year terms.
Justice of the Peace Court. Delaware State Courts This site provides information on how citizens can best use Justice of the Peaces, job details, history, etc.
Justice of the Peace Courts. Texas State Courts The Texas Constitution requires that each county in the State establish between one and eight justice of the peace precincts, depending upon the population of the county.
Middlesex County Surrogate. Middlesex County, New Jersey In New Jersey, the person who passes on the validity of a will, gives the executor proof of his authority to administer the estate and sees to it that the executor handles the estate properly, is called the Surrogate.
Farrell, Margaret. Special Masters. (2000). Federal Judicial Center Farrell first addresses the origin of special masters and the general ways they have been used in the court system. She then divides her work into chapters dealing with ways special masters can help in scientific and technical evidence, liability stage appointments, remedial stage appointments, and issues to consider before appointing a special master.
Special Masters - Frequently Asked Questions. State Bar of California Special Masters are volunteer attorneys who accompany peace officers in searches for documentary evidence in the possession of or under the control of attorneys, physicians, psychotherapists and clergy.
Special Masters in the Federal Courts. (December 2004). Newsletter of the Federal Courts 36, no. 12

This article highlights a case involving a Native American recreational site, which illustrates how special masters can be implemented into the judicial process successfully. The author details Chief Judge Lawrence L. Piersol’s use of a special master, provides other examples as to when a special master can be useful in the judicial system, and ways judges view special masters.

Superior Court Commissioners. Delaware State Courts This site provides background and contact information for Delaware Commissioners.
Surrogate`s Court, New York City. (2005). New York State Unified Court System The Surrogate's Court hears cases involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates. It also handles adoptions. The site provides contact information and downloadable forms commonly used in cases in the surrogate court.
Peterson, Janet Griffiths. The Appointment of Special Masters in High Conflict Divorces. (2006). Utah State Bar Journal 15, no. 6:16 This article addresses the legal authority to appoint special masters in high conflict divorce actions and the limits of the special masters’ powers.  In addition, it identifies conditions that compel the appointment of special masters and suggests practical guidelines for using special masters including what qualifies a person to act as a special master, what the order of reference should contain, and what procedural processes are available to ensure due process.
McFarland, Mary C. The Role of Quasi-Judicial Officers in Today`s Changing Courts. (2004). Court Manager 19, no. 2 This article addresses basic facts, policy and legal debates and possible solutions. The author includes helpful tables giving state-by-state information on the jurisdiction, number per state, compensation rates and education requirements of quasi-judge.