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Facilities and Legal Reform Projects. Presentation for the Core Course on Legal and Judicial Reform for World Bank Staff January 11-14, 2005 . Gerald Thacker. Administrative Office, US Courts Assistant Director for Facilities, Security, and Administrative Services

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Facilities and Legal Reform Projects

Presentation for the

Core Course on Legal and Judicial Reform for World Bank Staff

January 11-14, 2005


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Gerald Thacker

  • Administrative Office, US Courts

    • Assistant Director for Facilities, Security, and Administrative Services

  • US General Services Administration

    • Commissioner, Public Buildings Service

    • Head, Public Buildings Service, Atlanta Region

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Gerald Thacker (cont.)

  • Consultant on Judicial support systems, primarily on court facilities program

    • Architectural firms

    • US Federal Courts Administrative Office

    • US State Courts

    • International Courts

      • World Bank

        • Venezuela, Guatemala, Philippines

      • USAID

        • Montenegro

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The US Federal Courts Model

Not a good model for International courts

  • An adversarial system

  • Extensive use of juries

  • US not a unified system

  • Resource rich

  • Mature legal and internal governing system

  • Mature support system

  • Centrality of courthouses in US towns and cities

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects

  • A necessary tool

  • Appropriate Facilities are Essential to the Administration of Justice

    • Impact of Facilities on Efficient, Effective Judicial Operations

    • Independent Judiciary

  • Judicial Involvement is Essential to Obtaining Appropriate Facilities

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Appropriate Facilities Contribute to Judicial Reform Objectives

  • Protection of human rights

  • Foundation of Economic Development

  • Independence of the judiciary

  • Timely, consistent, legally-correct resolution of legal disputes

  • Reduction of case backlogs

  • Transparent, open, responsive and accountable functioning of the courts

  • Capacity of the judiciary to formulate and implement changes in court organization, practices and performance over the longer term

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

  • Courtroom

    • Adequate space for jurors

    • Adequate space for public observers

    • Separation of litigants for privacy

  • Courthouse

    • Adequate space for consolidated clerks office

    • Adequate space for records

    • Adequate space for evidence storage

    • Separated circulation patterns

    • Appropriate environment for automation

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Integrated Courthouse Automation Objectives

  • Current and Future Needs

  • Design Implications/Costs and Alternatives

  • Courthouse

  • Courtroom

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Automation in the Courthouse Objectives

  • Business Processes

  • Electronic Filing

  • Case Administration

  • Recordkeeping

  • Public Access

  • Security

  • Telecommunications

  • Building Operating/Fire & Life Safety

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Automation in the Courtroom Objectives

  • Presentation of Testimony

  • Presentation of Evidence

  • Taking the Record

  • Access to Ancillary Information

  • In-Court Case Administration

  • Public Access

  • Security

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Equipment Objectives



Equipment connections

Outside Access

Control Switching





Sound Reinforcement


Lines of Sight


The Smart Courthouse

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

  • Demonstration projects

  • Master Plans for System-wide upgrades

  • Allocation of resources

  • Alternatives

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

Inevitably controls the project’s critical path

  • Long lead time

  • Relative expense

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

  • Construction is the last choice

  • Not the First

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Timeframes Objectives

  • Up to 2000 M2 : 9 to 14 months

    • 2 to 3 months to develop scope of work and contract for design

    • 3 months to design

    • 2 months to contract for construction

    • 6 months to construct

  • 10,000 M2 and up: 3 to 5 years

    • 3 to 6 months to develop scope of work and contract for design

    • 6 months to design

    • 3 months to contract for construction

    • 24 to 36 months to construct

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Timeframes Objectives

  • Multiple projects can’t always proceed concurrently

    • Limits of courts

    • Limits of design and construction community

    • Availability of construction materials

    • Weather

    • Topography

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Timeframes Objectives

  • Successful techniques

    • Limit major new construction

    • Design Build

    • Pattern designs

    • Multiple construction awards

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

  • Just a tool

    • IT

    • Training

    • Human Resources

    • Case Management

    • Court organization/administration

    • Budgeting and financial management

    • Facilities

  • Supports other project goals—not a project goal itself

  • Facilities component should be tied directly to other project goals

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

Pre-Project Program Assessment

  • General condition of facilities to support reforms

  • Ability of court/government to implement facilities component

  • Current resource allocation

  • Support for on-going maintenance and operations

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Comprehensive Facilities Program Objectives

  • Functional Assessment/Profile

  • Design Guide

  • Document Current Conditions

  • Long Range Facility Plans

  • Multi-year Capital Plan (prioritization)

  • Yearly Revisions to Long Range Facility Plans and Capital Plan

  • On-going maintenance and oversight

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Design Guide ObjectivesPurpose and Use

  • Describes the unique characteristics of courthouses in the Judicial system

  • For Judges, court staff, architects, engineers

  • Directly applicable for new construction

  • Useful for renovations

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Types of spaces Objectives


Typical furniture/sizes

Appropriate office sizes

Appropriate adjacencies

Any requirement different from other government buildings



Wall/floor finishes/telecommunications



Handicapped access

Façade design/appearance

Built-in furniture


Heating/air conditioning

Design GuideElements

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Courthouse exterior Objectives

Interior spaces

Main Entrance/Public Lobby


President Judge’s office

President Judge’s secretary’s office

Judge’s office

Intake offices




Interior spaces (cont.)

Court Archive

Typists’ office

Accountant office

Special spaces

Housekeeper's office

Coffee Bar

Conference Room

Server/computer wiring room

Telephone switching room

Holding cell

Evidence/seized property room

Design GuideSpaces Described

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Document Current conditions Objectives

Identify needed repairs

Determine future plans/needs

Create inventory of “projects”




New facilities

Estimate costs for each project

Long Range Facility Plans for Each Facility

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Develop a Multi-Year (3-5) ObjectivesCapital Plan

  • Prioritize projects

  • Assign to budget years

    • Priorities

    • Costs

    • Available funding

  • Reorder/revise plan based on

    • Government action on previous budget year’s plan

    • New Information about facility needs

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Suggested Criteria for Prioritizing Objectives

  • Health and safety of employees

  • Overall building structural integrity

  • Security of employees and judicial process

  • Operating efficiencies and economies

  • Caseload impacted

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Facilities in Legal Reform Projects Objectives

  • Architecturally attractive

  • Prominent siting

  • Appropriate indigenous materials

  • Durable construction materials

  • Interior functionality and flexibility

  • Local participation in design

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San Jose JP Court Objectives

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Some Useful Websites Objectives

  • Americans with Disabilities Act www.ada.gov

  • Serviceability/functionality

    • International Centre for Facilities www.icf-cebe.com

  • Standards, reference documents, etc.

    • Whole Building Design Guide www.wbdg.org

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Thank you. Objectives