Vision, Mission & History

Vision Statement

Together,  we advance just, free and safe communities.

Mission Statement

We drive innovation and progress in courts and justice systems.

At the First National Conference of the Judiciary, held in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1971, United States Chief Justice Warren Burger called for the creation of a central resource for the state courts—a "national center for state courts." The National Center for State Courts began operations that same year at the headquarters of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., before moving to its permanent headquarters in Williamsburg in 1978. Initially, the National Center concentrated on helping courts to reduce backlogs and delay. This work included the publication of the groundbreaking Justice Delayed: The Pace of Litigation in Urban Trial Courts in 1978. The National Center also gave judges and court administrators a vital national perspective on court operations through its Court Statistics Project (started in 1978); the work of its Knowledge and Information Service, which handled more than 1,000 requests for court-related information during its first year of operation (1979); and the holdings of its Library, the largest collection of court administration-related materials in the world.

Since its founding in 1971, the organization has played a key role in the development of court administration worldwide. Other important milestones include:

1973—Ed McConnell is appointed first President of NCSC

1974—Publication of the Survey of Judicial Salaries begins

1984—Institute for Court Management (ICM) merges with NCSC

1987—Publication of the Trial Court Performance Standards

1988—First edition of Future Trends in State Courts is published

1990—Larry Sipes begins service as NCSC President

1991—Founding of NCSC’s International Division

1996—Roger Warren begins service as NCSC President

1999—Hosts a National Conference on Public Trust and Confidence in the Judiciary

2004—Mary Campbell McQueen begins service as NCSC President

2008—Launch of Harvard Executive Sessions for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century

2014—Inaugural State of the State Courts public opinion survey

2016—Release of the final report of the Civil Justice Initiative

2020— “Rapid Response Team” provides guidance to courts to counter COVID-19 pandemic

2021— The Wells Fargo Foundation makes largest gift to NCSC in its history-- $10 million to support eviction diversion

2024—“Rapid Response Team” provides guidance to courts on Artificial Intelligence