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Conference of Chief Justices endorses report with concrete ways to improve civil justice

A new report, Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All, recommends concrete improvements in the American civil justice system. The report calls on state judicial leaders to implement 13 recommendations, which are designed to meet the challenges of contemporary civil caseloads by taking advantage of modern technologies and highly trained court staff to provide effective oversight and timely intervention to move civil cases to resolution.  The report has been endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices and was produced with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). It was simultaneously endorsed by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA).


NCSC accepting nominations for Burger Award

The National Center for State Courts is accepting nominations for the Warren E. Burger Award, the highest award recognizing a court administrator who has significantly contributed to improving the administration of the state courts.  Service may be at the local, state, or national level.  This prestigious award honors an individual who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment. Nominations are due no later than Friday, October 14, 2016.


Guidance materials available for latest Justice for All project

The Justice for All project recently released guidance materials for its strategic-action-planning process to advance access to justice for all. These materials complement the Justice for All Request for Proposals (RFP), which provides funding to support strategic-action-planning efforts that include all relevant stakeholders in the civil-justice community in a partnership to move toward implementation of CCJ/COSCA Resolution 5, Reaffirming the Commitment to Meaningful Access to Justice for All. The project aims to enhance states’ commitment to reimagining how to work across organizational boundaries and optimizing all available resources to advance access to justice for all. Visit the Justice for All website for information on the guidance materials and an upcoming webinar on the RFP and strategic-action-planning process. Contact Shelley Spacek Miller if you have any questions about the Justice for All project or RFP process. The project is housed at NCSC and supported with funding from the Public Welfare Foundation.


Mary McQueen receives award for dedication to judicial administration

NCSC President Mary C. McQueen recently was presented the 2016 Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Judicial Administration, awarded by the American Bar Association (ABA) Judicial Division. McQueen has devoted her professional life to improving the justice system. Before becoming NCSC president in 2004, she worked for the Washington State Courts for more than 25 years, 17 of those as state court administrator. The award is named for Robert Yegge, dean emeritus of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, who passed away in 2006. Yegge was considered a pioneer in judicial administration, and his contributions created opportunities for many, including McQueen. In the late 1960s, Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger contacted Yegge to discuss the need for professional training for court administration. Chief Justice Burger made Yegge a deal: If his law school would establish a master’s degree in judicial administration, the chief justice would support the creation of a separate program for court managers. This was the beginning of the Institute for Court Management (ICM), initially housed in Denver and now at NCSC.


NCSC International to aid Kosovo with access to justice in 2016

On August 1, NCSC was awarded a one-year cooperative agreement by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, for the Demand for Justice Program in Kosovo. NCSC staff in Kosovo will support evidence-based information campaigns, facilitate reform advocacy, and conduct live legal aid clinics to enhance access to justice.  The Demand for Justice Program aims to engage citizens, including young people, in reform advocacy to remove barriers to a fair and transparent justice system. In partnership with Kosovo’s leading civil-society organizations and universities, the program will strengthen the criminal-justice system in Kosovo. NCSC’s Chief of Party, John Furnari, will head the Pristina-based program. 


NCSC reading room


A recently released report by The Hague Institute for Innovations in the Law provides a thorough analysis of online dispute resolution: ODR and the Courts: The Promise of 100% Access to Justice?  This report is a result of interviews with experts in ODR and innovation within courts, as well as contributions from the 2016 ODR conference in The Hague. Authors contend that online dispute resolution is viable for improving the administration of justice worldwide. They attempt to answer how states can move toward ODR procedures that work for people and the courts; identify how ODR can end administrative issues for courts and citizen disillusionment; and contend that the solution is financially sustainable and scalable. The report presents a thorough examination of the issues and the four models of ODR and court integration.

New Hampshire has launched a program integrating all components of the state’s criminal justice system—the Justice-One Network Environment (J-ONE). This month’s Trends in State Courts article describes how the program improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s criminal-justice agencies.

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