This page was last updated on 9/04/2015
While every state has a slightly different organizational scheme to their judicial system, all state courts are divided into four general categories or levels: trial courts of limited jurisdiction, trial courts of general jurisdiction, intermediate appellate courts, and courts of last resort. In an attempt to improve court administration at the structural level, major court reform efforts have taken place to unify administrative authority, centralize rulemaking powers, acquire unitary budgeting, and a consolidate state and local trial court funding.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
Search the Gavel to Gavel legislation database based on state, year, legislation category, or any combination. Bill Type = "Structure Changes".
Detailed diagrams of each states' court system (US territories included).
The purpose of this study is to provide an objective analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of consolidating the limited jurisdiction courts in Mahoning County below the Court of Common Pleas level.
This article discusses how difficult financial times are giving rise to changes to trial court governance, forcing a new blend of centralized and decentralized decision making not widely experienced in the past. For some, recognizing and skillfully using these new approaches in leading trial courts might mean the difference between adapting well to these tough times or not.
This articles traces the North Dakota Court System's path to unification through consolidation of trial courts, centralized administrative authority, centralized rulemaking, centralized budgeting, and state financing.
The current fiscal crisis might prompt local courts to consider shared-services arrangement to consolidate operations and cut costs. The New Jersey experience offers helpful tips and cautions.
Issues in trial court administration arising from an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that merged multiple trial courts into a two-tier system with one general-jurisdiction circuit court and one limited-jurisdiction district court.
This book addresses many of the fundamental issues of state judiciaries and includes a section on the Court Reform Movement that investigates the historical context of court reformations, the unification of judiciaries, and the creation of judicial administrative offices.
This one hundred twenty-two page book highlights the National Interbranch Conference on Funding the State Courts.
Court Unification's contemporary value based on comparative research in trial courts of nine counties in five states. Court unification remains an essential tool for court reform, however other aspects are crucial as well and report mentions those in further detail.