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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69644 Find in a Library
Title: Scope and Limits of Court Reform
Journal: Justice System Journal  Volume:5  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:274-290
Author(s): C Baar
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Elements and characteristics of court reform are described, parallels with executive and legislative reform are suggested, the limits of current court reform are indicated, and suggestions are made for future reform.
Abstract: The following shared goals of court reform advocates are discussed: (1) consolidation of court structure and jurisdiction, (2) simplification of court procedures, (3) professionalization of the judiciary, (4) unification of court administration, (5) professional administrators, (6) State financing of the court system, (7) technological modernization, and (8) judicial independence. These goals are partly derived from assumptions rooted in the history and ideology of court reform. They include insulation of the courts from politics, which is reminiscent of efforts toward civil service reform and creation of an executive budget; preoccupation with the standardization of court organization; and emphasis on professional administration of the courts along classical management lines, with unity of command and clear lines of responsibility; and a persistent reform focus upon structures and procedures, as opposed to reform of substantive law. Court reform efforts are limited by the persistence of politics, and by the conflict between national uniform standards for judicial administration and the need for creative solutions to deal with distinctive managerial and political problems related to judicial reform. The following recommendations are made for continued progress in court reform: (1) emphasis upon horizontal linkages of superiors over subordinates, in court reorganization, (2) striving for a scale or size of administrative units that permits planning and coordination while retaining collegiality, and (3) a shift from a consideration of the needs of judges and court administrative personnel to a consideration of the needs of litigants and other members of the public served by the courts. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Court management; Court reform; Court reorganization; State court unification
Note: Article is adpated from a paper prepared for delivery at the Symposium on Administrative Reform and Public Policy held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, April 14, 1978
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