This page was last updated on 3/06/2018
In an effort to develop effective internal management system to maintain control over the administrative aspects of the judicial system, the state courts created an administrative system with simplified organization, centralized administration, and unitary budgeting. While there is no single model of administrative structure in the state courts, most contain a chief justice as the executive head, followed by an administrator of the courts and staff to comprise the administrative office of the courts (AOC), who’s function is to carry out the judiciary’s administrative duties.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
In addition to handling their day-to-day administrative responsibilities and other duties that come their way, state court administrators must also have a vision of how the justice system could be improved.
The management and administration of state courts has historically evolved over time, driven by societal trends, technology developments, and the increasing and everchanging demands being placed on state courts. For more than 30 years, state courts have examined these challenges and explored the most productive and efficient way for state courts to adapt and move forward.
State court reformers in most states achieved greater standardization and centralization of court governance but in the process left behind significant tensions between local courts and the state-wide court administration. In Herding Lions, retired Arizona Judge Barbara Mundell and Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson put forward an approach based on recognition of the collective responsibility of all courts within a state for the quality of justice administered. They urge that leadership be shared across the different levels of court structure and that local innovation be encouraged and, where effective, replicated statewide.
This report offers state-by-state information on the manner in which state court administrators are chosen in each state.
State Court Organization, 2004, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
National Association of Court Management.
San Francisco: Judicial Council.
In this resource, Tobin examines the importance of court administration in the judicial system, the evolution of modern court administration, and the exercise of administrative authority in the courts.
St Paul, MN: West Publishing.
The report proposes changes in the organization and management of the Office of the Administrative Director of the Supreme Court by giving an overview of the Ohio Court Administrative System and recommendations of changes, as well as implementation of those recommendations.
East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University.