Caseflow Management Resource Guide

Our experts recommend

CourtMD online assessment

Mark your calendar

Caseflow management is the coordination of court processes and resources so that court cases progress in a timely fashion from filing to disposition. Judges and administrations can enhance justice when a court supervises case progress from the time of filing, sets meaningful events and deadlines throughout the life of a case, and provides credible trial dates. Proven practices in caseflow management include case-disposition time standards, early court intervention and continuous court control of case progress, use of differentiated case management, meaningful pretrial events and schedules, limiting of continuances, effecting calendaring and docketing practices, use of information systems to monitor age and status of cases, and control of post-disposition case events.

Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.


Featured Links

  • Richard Schauffler. Trends: Close Up - The Rise and Fall of State Court Caseloads. (2017). Since the Great Recession in 2008, caseloads in the state courts have been declining rapidly—16 percent between 2006 and 2015, a loss of about 16 million cases. Across all case categories—civil, criminal, juvenile, domestic relations, traffic—and across all states, this pattern is pervasive and persistent. While there is some variation due to demographics or policy and budget changes within states, the overall trend is clear. What is not known is why this is happening.
  • CourtMD. (2014). The initial treatments in NCSC's CourtMD online tool support effective caseflow management by pointing court managers who answer questions about key characteristics of their courts toward custom solutions based on those answers.
  • Steelman, David and John Goerdt and James McMillan. Caseflow Management: The Heart of Court Management in the New Millennium. Review of methods of caseflow management and their application. Also describes elements of successful caseflow management programs and their implementation.
  • Rethinking Felony Caseflow Management to Create a Culture of High Court Performance. (2013). National Center for State Courts. Sustained success in felony caseflow management calls for judicial leaders, court managers, and their criminal justice partners to (a) focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the court culture in their respective communities, and then (b) use the ideas of “high court performance” as a framework for understanding what must be done in order to manage felony cases in a way that promotes prompt and affordable justice.
  • Raaen, Nial. Caseflow Management Maturity Matrix. (2015). The Caseflow Management Maturity Matrix is a high level framework that describes the critical hallmarks of caseflow management and is a self - assessment instrument to determine the level of adoption and institutionalization of caseflow management principles and practices by a court. The dimensions of the Matrix include “business layers” and “levels of development”, or maturity.
  • Case Processing Time Standards. This database compiles state-by-state information about Case Processing Time Standards (CPTS) and how states monitor them.
  • Court Consulting Services provides caseflow management and delay reduction services to general, limited appellate and special jurisdiction (such as juvenile, family, probate, drug, and enforcement) courts.
  • CourTools. CourTools offers a way to evaluate performance by using Trial Court Performance Measures: Number 2: Clearance Rates; Number 3: Time to Disposition; Number 4: Age of Active Pending Caseload; Number 5: Trial Date Certainty.
  • Fundamental Issues of Caseflow Management. This is an eLearning course offered by the Institute for Court Management. In this course, participants will assess the effectiveness of their court's caseflow management system and learn how to develop a system that ensures timely and just disposition of all cases in collaboration with stakeholders. Participants will also learn the fundamentals of caseflow management, strategies to create or enhance their court's caseflow management program, and how to adopt an effective differentiated case management plan. This course is ongoing.
  • Steelman, David C. and Alicia K. Davis. Probate DCM to Protect Vulnerable Adults. (2012). Future Trends in State Courts. Some probate courts are now considering time standards and new case management strategies and tools to handle expanding caseloads, including differentiated case management (DCM) both before and after fiduciary appointment.
  • Hall, Daniel J. and Lee Suskin. Reengineering Lessons from the Field. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts. Court leaders typically recognize the need for developing new processes and work methods. However, the current budget crisis has forced court leaders to recognize that they must significantly redesign court services in an era of constrained resources.
  • Matthias, John T. User Requirements for a New Generation of Case Management System. (2010). Future Trends in State Courts. As courts update their case management system technology, selecting and implementing a highly configurable case management system allows a court to contemplate managing continuous change in the business environment. Selecting a system depends on judging its configurability capabilities, and developing good user requirements depends on capturing process-oriented requirements to take advantage of those capabilities.

General

  • Model Time Standards for State Trial Courts. (2011). National Center for State Courts. The Model Standards was approved in August 2011 by the Conference of State Court Administrators, Conference of Chief Justices, American Bar Association House of Delegates and the National Association for Court Management. They are the comprehensive set of time standards that cover all types of cases.
  • Steelman, David. Caseflow Management. (2008). Future Trends in State Courts. Traces the development of caseflow management since the 1970s, analyzes current issues and innovations, and looks toward the future.

Caseflow Management Guides

  • Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines: Caseflow Management. (2012). National Association of Court Management. The NACM Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines provide a comprehensive statement of the caseflow management knowledge and skills necessary for court leaders.
  • Court and Caseflow Management, South Africa Guidelines. (2011). The Justice Forum in South Africa is an organization that provides information online and has several reports/publications describing caseflow management in the South African court system.
  • California State Auditor Report 2010. (February 2011). California Administrative Office of the Court. This report discusses what the California Administrative Office of the Court did wrong and why the Statewide Case Management Project faces significant challenges due to poor project management.
  • Steelman, David. Model Continuance Policy. (2009). This document provides a model continuance policy for use by courts to achieve more effective caseflow management.
  • Steelman, David. Reducing Court Work Volume through Caseflow Management. (2009). This brief describes how caseflow management can successfully address issues of case volume and workload in the courts, and provides examples.
  • Steelman, David. Improving Caseflow Management: A Brief Guide. (February 2008). This report outlines many ways in which courts can improve caseflow management including trial management, dispositions, timing, leadership and others.
  • Caseflow Management Guide. (2004). Lansing, MI: State Court Administrative Office. A guide for judges and caseflow management practitioners about caseflow management, court supervision of case progress, judicial support and leadership, and management information.
  • Mahoney, Barry and Holly C. Bakke. How to Conduct a Caseflow Management Review: A Guide for Practitioners. (1994). Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. A "how-to" guide to help conduct caseflow management review by analyzing caseflow management systems of several urban courts.
  • Goerdt, John, with Chris Lomvardias and Geoff Gallas. Reexamining the Pace of Litigation in 39 Urban Courts. (1991). This seminal report presents analysis of the pace of litigation and its correlates based on 1987 felony and civil case data from 39 urban trial courts.
  • Hewitt, William, Geoff Gallas, and Barry Mahoney. Courts that Succeed: Six Profiles. (1990). 211 pages. This report shows how demonstration courts evaluate symptoms of delay in the context of many factors, as well as explaining that delay is both a problem and a sympton of other underlying problems facing courts.
  • Mahoney, Barry et al. Changing Times in Trial Courts. (1988). 246 pages. This report represents a three-year study of case-processing times in 18 general jurisdiction trial courts in several urban areas in the U.S. to provide a picture of the pace of criminal and civil litigation. Reports' conclusion is that delay is not inevitable and there are ways for successful caseflow management.

Civil Cases

Criminal Cases

Differentiated Case Management

  • Differentiated Case Management:  Fact Sheet. (1995). Washington, DC, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Defines the key features and benefits of the DCM model. Every case that goes to court imposes a unique set of demands on court resources. The traditional first-in / first-out, one-track-fits-all approach to case management is no longer either feasible or desirable.
  • Differentiated Case Management:  Implementation Manual. (1993). Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance. A book which goes into greater detail on the management and implementation of DCM.  It includes frequently asked questions about the system, cases in which the system was implemented, and basic tactics to assure the greatest success with DCM.
  • Differentiated Case Management:  Program Brief. (1993). Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Assistance. This pamphlet explains the concept of Differentiated Case Management (or DCM), describes the criteria needed for DCM, and the process by which a locality can implement the program.
  • Henderson, Thomas, Janice Munsterman, and Robert Tobin. Differentiated Case Management. (1990). Washington Project Office. This seminal report examines criminal and civil cases from six demonstration sites (superior court, Camden County, NJ; superior court, Pierce County, WA; district court, Ramsey County, Minnesota; Detroit Recorder's Court; and Berrien County, Michigan).

Drug Cases

  • Cooper, Caroline S. Expedited Drug Case Management. (1994). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. An examination of several approaches taken by judges to speed up the numerous drug cases that clutter their judicial systems. Possible benefits are examined, followed by descriptions of how each attempted study panned out.

Family Cases

  • Flango, Carol. How are Courts Coordinating Family Cases?. (1999). Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. Families come to court for many reasons, and some families return to court frequently. For these families, a coordinated approach to the multiplicity of cases involving various family members and an integrated human service delivery system seems to hold the most promise of moving the family toward self-sufficiency. The basic premise is that an integrated approach not only will promote a better quality of court decision making by providing the judges and judicial hearing officers with accurate and complete information about the family, but also will make the best use of the limited resources the community has to strengthen families.
  • Aikman, Alexander B. Case Management and Caseflow Study of the Jefferson County (KY) Circuit, District, and Family Courts: Final Report. (1995). Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. This report reviews case management in the courts in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  See also Recommendation 9 (page 91), which indicates that "Circuit court judges should implement a differentiated case management program for newly filed cases.
  • Rubin, Ted H. and Victor Eugene Flango. Court Coordination of Family Cases. (1992). Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. Research examines the frequency with which families in the court system have multiple related cases filed in different courts. Considers the justification for coordinating these separate cases (in some cases unnecessary, but in others, possibly essentials for the well-being of the family members).

Mass Tort Cases

Probate Cases

  • Steelman, David C. Improving Protective Probate Processes. (2011). An Assessment of Guardianship and Conservatorship Procedures in the Probate and Mental Health Department of the Maricopa County Superior Court.
  • Steelman, David C. Managing Probate Workload and Dockets. (1992). Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts. This report suggests some of the ways to improve the management of judges' workload and dockets without expanding support staff.

Rural Cases

Small Claims Cases