Judicial Staff Support

In addition to the judge's private office, space should be provided for other personnel who assist the judge, such as a secretary, law clerk, scheduling clerk, and bailiff. (A court reporter's office may also be located in the chamber suite or elsewhere in the facility.) The staff offices should harmonize with the design and image of the judge's private office to form a unified suite. Chamber support spaces also include judicial toilets and robing areas, libraries and conference rooms, and judicial lounges.

Reception/Secretarial Area

The secretary should have a minimum of 100 to 120 square feet to accommodate a desk, and space for word-processing or computer equipment, including a computer terminal or PC, video display monitor, keyboard, and printer, one or two lateral filing cabinets, and bookshelves. The secretary screens visitors and needs a waiting area for those persons wishing to see the judge. An adjoining reception/public-waiting area of approximately 40 to 60 square feet should be located directly outside the judge's private office. It should seat two to four guests and be furnished with comfortable chairs. When several judges share one or more secretaries, a central clerical/reception area may be used. The judge's office should be immediately adjacent to this area.

The secretary should have access to photocopy and facsimile equipment. This equipment may be part of the chamber suite or centrally located and shared among a set of chamber suites. Also included may be a kitchenette or coffee bar.

The secretary's desk should have a duress alarm system for notification of security personnel in an emergency.

Law Clerk Area

A law clerk is generally an attorney who performs legal research and reviews case files for the judge. The law clerk's office should be a minimum of 120 square feet and should include a desk, filing cabinet, bookshelves, and visitor chairs. The office should also have convenient access to the law library.

Minute and Scheduling Clerk Area

The minute or scheduling clerk prepares the calendar for the judge and assists the secretary. (In some jurisdictions, minute clerks are also assigned secretarial duties.) Minute clerks may be stationed permanently in the judge's chambers, the courtroom, or in the clerk's office. Typically, the work space needs can be accommodated in an open office arrangement similar to that of the judge's personal secretary. If located in the judge's chambers, the workstation should be in view of the reception area for screening visitors when the secretary is out of the office.

Bailiff or Court Officer

The bailiff is responsible for the judge's security and may be located either in the judge's chamber set or in a central location with other bailiffs. If the bailiff's station is located in the chamber set, the work space should be approximately 100 square feet or less, including a desk, chair, filing equipment, and visitor chair.

Judicial Toilets and Robing Areas

For security reasons and as a convenience to the judge, judicial restrooms should be separated from public restrooms. The judge's restroom should be approximately 50 square feet and designed to accommodate persons with disabilities. When chambers are clustered, common restroom and robing facilities might be shared between judges to save space and lower costs.

Judicial Libraries and Conference Rooms

The judge's private office may contain a small personal library and a meeting area that can accommodate 4 to 6 persons. If needed, larger library and conference space may be located outside the judge's private office and shared with other judges in the court. The number of conference rooms provided should be contingent upon the number of judges and their location in the courthouse. To improve space efficiency, conference rooms also could double as law libraries for judicial staff.

Judicial Lounge

In larger courts, a judicial lounge also may be provided for the judges, consisting of a small kitchenette, tables and chairs, and sofas and side chairs. This area would allow judges to have lunches and breaks in private and confer with colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.