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New toolkit provides guidance for adopting pandemic-era procedural improvements

New toolkit provides guidance for adopting pandemic-era procedural improvements

Nov. 9, 2022 - During the pandemic, courts stepped out of their normal routine and comfort zones to find new ways of doing business. These new procedures benefitted both courts and court customers. NCSC’s new Pandemic Era Procedural Improvements toolkit outlines tips and examples that your court can adopt to enhance operations in the post-pandemic era.

“The pandemic was a major disruptor. I think about other major disruptors that changed society—cars, TV, mobile phones. We didn’t stop at the Benz Patent Motor Car, black and white television, or car phones,” said Lonni Summers, an NCSC senior court management consultant. “We continued to innovate and evolve to make things better. Courts should do the same with pandemic-era procedural improvements.”

This toolkit contains a high-level summary of procedural improvements that courts implemented between 2020 and 2022 that courts should adopt permanently. Resources include examples, best practice recommendations, and references to publications and materials that provide information, models, and guidance for jurisdictions that want to adopt these improvements.

In Pandemic Era Procedural Improvements that Courts Should Adopt Permanently, NCSC outlines tried and tested pandemic-era improvements, including:

  • Simplified court procedures
  • Remote programs and services
  • Enhanced docket management
  • Clear communication

The toolkit also addresses processes—such as remote license applications, electronic payments, and virtual hearings—which increased access to justice during the pandemic. NCSC encourages courts to continue to implement changes that enhance procedural justice. To learn more, check out the recent Halloween-themed episode of Tiny Chats or email Lonni Summers for additional assistance.

Tracking the 2022 judicial election results

Voters in 24 states went to the polls to vote on justices for their courts of last resort as well as on court-related ballot measures.

In five states, a majority of high court seats were on the ballot: Kansas (6/7), Florida (5/7), California (4/7), Kentucky (4/7), and Nebraska (4/7).

Among the notable ballot measures: whether to increase judges’ mandatory retirement age; whether a high court should be renamed; and how long judges appointed to fill vacancies can serve before having to face voters.

View the results here.