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Just Horizons initiative enables “future-ready courts”

Just Horizons initiative enables “future-ready courts”

March 8, 2023 -- The pandemic demonstrated the need to better anticipate and prepare for social and technological drivers of change that could disrupt the meaningful delivery of justice in the future. But how do we do that, and where do we start?

NCSC’s Just Horizons initiative has spent two years examining these questions, identifying critical areas of vulnerability for courts, and developing guidance and actionable resources and tools to help state courts of any size or jurisdiction become future-ready.

“Lawyers and judges and the justice system generally are not good about thinking about the future. We’re better at thinking about the past,” said Just Horizons Co-Chair and Texas Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. “When it comes to future thinking, we typically prefer the old ways and think that they’re best. The pandemic changed that for sure.”

During a recent webinar announcing the council’s final report, Chief Justice Hecht outlined six vulnerabilities facing courts and correlating challenges to delivering high-quality justice.

The vulnerabilities identified are:

  • Including a forward-looking, anticipatory capacity in court governance
  • Focusing on user-centered experience and inclusive design
  • Embracing a data-driven mindset
  • Understanding the role of private entities in court work
  • Preparing for emergencies
  • Cultivating a future-ready workforce and workplace

The council encourages courts to read the final report, view the webinar launch, take the court readiness assessment and engage with court colleagues and external subject-matter experts to develop practical solutions to address these vulnerabilities.

“We’re all in this together, and we’re not going to be able to solve all of the problems of the courts individually,” said Pamela Casey, Just Horizons Project Director and NCSC’s Vice President for Research.

Discover how Just Horizons can make your court “future-ready” today at