Alaska’s courts are taking steps to assure all citizens that they will be treated fairly in court proceedings. All of Alaska’s 44 court locations now prominently display a Pledge of Fairness promising all citizens that the judges and staff of the Alaska Court system “will listen to you, respond to your questions, and treat you with respect.” The pledge is highlighted in large posters on courthouse walls. The posters themselves promote a sense of fairness by acknowledging the diversity of Alaska’s residents by stating the pledge both in English and in the six other most frequently used languages in the state’s courts. Chief Justice Dana Fabe announced the Pledge during her 2013 State of the Judiciary address. Adopting a Pledge of Fairness is one manifestation of the growing awareness in the state court community of the benefits associated with implementing principles derived from the academic field of procedural fairness, which explains what members of the public expect from a decision maker like a judge. The benefits from adhering to procedural fairness principles include higher public satisfaction with the court and a greater likelihood that litigants will comply with court decisions.
To learn directly from Chief Justice Fabe about Alaska’s Pledge of Fairness, read her guest blog post at http://proceduralfairnessblog.org/. The post includes the full text of the pledge and links to the poster and State of the Judiciary address. The full website www.proceduralfairness.org is dedicated to providing resources for understanding the principles of procedural fairness and examples of how court systems and individual judges are applying those principles.