New Hampshire

State/Local Funding

  • The New Hampshire Judiciary is a state funded system. 
  • The state pays for the Supreme Court 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 the local courthouses and equipment.

State Revenue and Appropriations

  • New Hampshire’s total state and federal grant appropriation was increased from $72,156,051 million in FY12 to $74.66 million in FY13.  The state general fund appropriation increased from $66,643,700 million to $69.46 million, 5% of the state’s general fund.
  • The FY13 budget includes special funds for additional call center staff and for jury management software.
  • Fines and fees have remained the same.
  • Funding for technology has increased over the past four years.
  • The budget situation in the next three years is likely to stay relatively the same.

Funding Principles for Judicial Administration

  • The Judicial Branch presents 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. Statutes regulate movement of funds among budget lines.  Some transfers may be approved by the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee.
  • The FY13 budget enables the courts to provide and enhance necessary technology to meet the demands of the public.  A dedicated IT Fund permits the courts to upgrade and support existing hardware and software.  A modest capital appropriation permits the courts to begin e-Filing in one case type.  An operating budget appropriation supports the purchase of a new jury management system.
  • The introduction of technologies has not yet enabled the courts and others to provide and receive enhanced court services.

Steps Taken to Address Tough Economic Times

Staffing Levels and Operating Expenses: 

  • Over the past four years, the number of judges, trial court staff and central office staff has decreased.   Spending on trial court operating expenses has also decreased.
  • In this coming year, the number of judges and trial court staff will remain the same; the number of central office staff will increase.  The amount spent on trial court operating expenses will decrease.  Some full time positions were restored to the Information Technology department via a staff reallocation.
  • Overall, the number of full-time positions has decreased; the New Hampshire Judiciary is making greater use of part-time staff.

Compensation:  Over the past four years, the New Hampshire Judiciary has furloughed judicial officers and court staff.

Service Reductions:  Over the past four years, the New Hampshire courts have reduced hours of operation, had staff layoffs, and have delayed filling judicial vacancies.  They have delayed jury trials.  These service reductions have resulted in reduced service to the public, limited access to court services and diverted resources from civil to other mandatory case types.

Efficiency Measures:  The New Hampshire courts have implemented e-Citations by law enforcement agencies.  In the coming year, the New Hampshire courts plan to implement e-filing, electronic workflow, e-payment of fees and fines and a virtual self-help center.

Restructuring:  Since 2009, the New Hampshire courts have created a single tier limited jurisdiction court, consolidated the number of districts, changed jurisdiction to enable the sharing of judicial workload, expanded the use of subordinate judicial officers, consolidated and reduced the number of clerk management positions, expanded the use of part-time and off-hours workers, expanded their dictation center and created a centralized call center.

Business Processes:  The New Hampshire courts have implemented and will continue to implement an enhance caseflow management program, have transitioned to digital recording of court proceedings and use videoconferencing to conduct arraignments of incarcerated defendants.  In FY14, they will experiment with remote video interpretation.

Outsourcing:  The New Hampshire courts outsource language access services and the production of transcripts of court proceedings.

Centralization:  The New Hampshire Judiciary has established a centralized call center.  The call center answers all calls to all of the state’s Circuit Courts.  In FY13, they plan to centralize jury qualification and summoning.

The New Hampshire courts are in a better position than in FY09 to provide access and timely justice.  Their Innovation Commission recommended ways measures identified above that are reducing costs and improving service.  When and if resources are expanded, they will be allocated to technology, not to additional case processing staff.

Reports and Articles

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