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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78000 Find in a Library
Title: Court Reorganization - An Overview
Journal: Massachusetts Law Review  Volume:65  Issue:4/5  Dated:(July - October 1980)  Pages:152-158
Author(s): A M Mason; H L Barr
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the progress that has been achieved since the 1978 enactment of the Court Reorganization Act in Massachusetts; activities of the trial court are emphasized.
Abstract: Incorporated within the 1978 legislation were several major recommendations of the governor's select committee on judicial needs, including greater centralization within the judiciary of the responsibility for internal management of the State court system. The legislation also mandated State assumption of all court costs and the development of a unified budgetary process for the courts, consolidation of the administratively fragmented trial courts into a single trial court with seven departments, expansion of the civil and criminal jurisdictions of the district court department, and provision for greater flexibility in the assignment of trial court judges to the various courts. To expedite these goals, the judicial planning committee for 1980 articulated several priorities, including standardization of various criminal and civil forms used by individual trial court divisions, increasing training of court employees, and implementing appropriate alternative means of settling disputes in the trial court. The first unified budget for the judicial branch was submitted within 60 days of the act's approval. In addition, July 1, 1979, was established as the effective date of full and direct State assumption of court costs. The accounting and personnel systems have also been improved, and standards for the hiring of court personnel are now in effect. Since October 1978, there have been 242 reassignments of judicial personnel across department lines in order to more effectively meet workload demands. Signs of progress are apparent, as the gap between civil case commencements and dispositions has narrowed substantially. The article includes 24 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Court delays; Court reorganization; Court structure; Evaluation criteria; Massachusetts; State courts; Trial courts
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