COVID-19 brought courts face-to-face with the future—or at least one aspect of the future. Rapid socio-cultural and technological changes across all sectors further demand our attention and prompt the question of what will be the norm in the next decade. And for courts, what will this new normal mean and how should they best prepare for it? This is the question the NCSC’s Just Horizons: Charting the Future of the Courts is exploring. The initiative is led by a Council of court leaders and scholars and is grounded in strategic foresight, a planning discipline that helps people think rigorously and systematically about the future.
During the project’s first year, the Council identified 13 trends most likely to drive change for courts and considered different scenarios of possible futures based on those trends. The drivers of change and scenarios are available in our interim report, and we invite you to use them in your own meetings and discussions about the future of courts. What are your reactions to the drivers of change and the scenarios? How might each scenario impact what courts do and how they do it? How might each impact how the public views and uses courts? And how might we prepare courts for each scenario? These are questions the Council is considering as we move into the final phase of the initiative.