CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT Date(s) Educational Program or Sponsor Faculty 1.5 Hour Toolbox
OPTIONAL SLIDE MAY BE TOO NEGATIVE FOR SOME GROUPS ISSUES Case management is largely ignored. The basic business of courts—moving cases from filing to disposition—is largely deemed to be outside the scope of court administrators. While cattle call calendars, undifferentiated case management, unprepared parties at scheduled hearings, delays exceeding local or national standards, and excessive continuances are common, they are not noticed by court administrators. When noticed, they are ignored as judge concerns. Not my job. Unfortunately, in the area where administrative expertise is most relevant and needed—caseflow management—most court administrators have not shown the understanding or, as or more important, the will to be relevant, much less helpful. Many court administrators understand caseflow principles but relatively few are able to apply the principles. Court administrators are missing a major opportunity to serve the purposes of courts and to be perceived as competent by helping the court improve its caseflow. Source: Ernest C. Friesen, Court Leaders: Survivors or Agents of Change?, The Court Manager, Vol. 15, No 3, 2000, page 54 – 60.
PURPOSES OF COURTS • To do individual justice in individual cases • To appear to do justice in individual cases • To provide a forum for the resolution of legal disputes • To protect citizens against arbitrary use of Government power • To make a formal record of legal status • To deter criminal behavior • To help rehabilitate persons convicted of crimes • To separate persons convicted of serious offenses from society Time destroys the purposes of courts. The purpose underlying CFM is not faster and faster and more and more, it is justice. CFM is a justice not an efficiency driven activity.
LOCAL LEGAL CULTURE Source: Thomas Church et al, Justice Delayed, NCSC, 1978.
SIN QUO NON THE COURT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPERVISING CASE PROGRESS.
ABA STANDARDS RELATING TO COURT DELAY REDUCTION Standard 2.50 Caseflow Management and Delay Reduction: General Principle From the commencement of litigation to its resolution, whether by trial or settlement, any elapsed time other than reasonably required for pleadings, discovery, and court events, is unacceptable and should be eliminated. To enable just and efficient resolution of cases, the court, not the lawyers or litigants, should control the pace of litigation. A strong judicial commitment is essential to reducing delay and, once achieved, maintaining a current docket.
Coordination of court processes and resources to move cases timely from filing to disposition regardless of the case type or the type of disposition Creation of case events, but most importantly… management of the time between events Long enough to allow preparation, short enough to encourage preparation Creation of a predictable system that sets expectations and helps assure that required action is taken CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT
Leadership Standards Information Related to Standards Timely Accurate Clearly Presented Used for Continuous Improvement THREE THINGS THAT COURTS MUST HAVE
This is the key element The chief judge sets the tone Judges must: Manage judges Be committed and show commitment Involve other judges, other agencies, staff, court administrators, and others Establish courtwide policy Establish partnership with court administrator and the clerk JUDICIAL COMMITMENT AND LEADERSHIP
Accountability Persistence Willingness to initiate change Continuity Pet projects do not survive CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFULLY MANAGED COURTS
Lack of leadership skills Lack of willingness to lead Frequent changes of leadership WHY MANY COURTS HAVE LEADERSHIP FAILURES
For the system as a whole For parts of the system For individual cases STANDARDS
Filing to disposition all case types Pending cases all case types MICRO • Time between events • Individual cases TYPES OF STANDARDS MACRO • RELATED GOALS • Continuances • Cases over standard
Promote Expedition and Timeliness Motivation Organize CFM software and MIS Stimulate new programs and procedures Internal and External Accountability: court systems, courts and their leaders, management, programs and individuals WHY STANDARDS ARE HELPFUL
Timely Accurate Clearly Presented Used for Continuous Improvement INFORMATION RELATED TO STANDARDS
QUESTIONS: WHY CAN’T WE DO IT? WHAT EXPLAINS THE PERSISTENT NATION WIDE FAILURE TO MEET LONG-STANDING AND WIDELY ACCEPTED TIME TO DISPOSITION GOALS?
CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT CURRICULUM GUIDELINES REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILL AND ABILITY
COURT PURPOSES AND VISION Court leaders must understand court purposes and promote vision and action throughout the court and justice community organized around the impact caseflow management has on justice. Acceptable court performance is impossible without effective caseflow management.
FUNDAMENTALS Fundamentals include the relationship between the purposes of courts and effective caseflow and trial management, leadership, time standards, alternative case scheduling and assignment systems, and case management techniques, including differentiated case management (DCM) and alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Court managers and the judge(s) in charge of the court (including the judges who head specialized court divisions) must work together to improve case processing and jointly lead the court and justice system. Understanding that while caseflow management requires early and continuous court control of individual cases, system-wide caseflow effectiveness is a cooperative effort of public and private litigants and lawyers, law enforcement, social services, health, detention and correctional organizations, and judges and court staff. LEADERSHIP TEAMS AND SYSTEM-WIDE EFFECTIVENESS
CHANGE AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT Courts must skillfully and continuously evaluate caseflow with qualitative information and data and statistics, identify problems, and successfully build support for implementing and managing change.
TECHNOLOGY Technology supports caseflow management through creation and maintenance of records concerning case processing and schedules, structuring management of pre-trial, trial, and post-dispositional events, conferences, and hearings; monitoring case progress; flagging cases for staff and judge attention; enabling verbatim records of court proceedings; and providing needed management information and statistics.
PERSONAL INTERVENTION Court leaders need to personally intervene, communicate, and negotiate to bring about just and efficient case processing for all case types from filing to closure and court event to court event.
Lawyers settle cases not judges Lawyers settle cases when prepared Lawyers prepare for significant events THREE AXIOMS
Early control Continuous control On a short schedule Be reasonably arbitrary Create the expectation and reality that events happen when scheduled FIVE PRINCIPLES