Trial Court Coordination Councils
BJA Trial Court Coordination Resolution
The Board for Judicial Administration (BJA) recognizes the variety of innovative and collaborative methods employed by Washington trial courts to improve the delivery of judicial services in their communities. The current structure of Washington courts allows considerable opportunities for the efficient and effective distribution of work and services among trial courts within a jurisdiction including the superior, district and municipal courts. The citizens of Washington expect all courts to strive for maximum utilization of judicial and other court resources as a means of providing access and service to the public, thereby increasing their confidence in the courts. The Board for Judicial Administration recognizes that each trial court jurisdiction has a unique history and character which places local leaders in the best position to define problems and identify solutions. Accordingly, a statewide merger or unificiation of the trial courts is not the intent of this resolution or the BJA.
It is the intent of the Board for Judicial Administration to promote the efforts of local trial court jurisdictions to engage in activities that support the following trial court coordination goals:
- reduce functional redundancies among multiple trial courts within a single jurisdiction including the superior, district and municipals courts;
- increase flexibility to distribute work more efficiently among trial courts within a jurisdiction, including judicial officers and staff;
- increase access to the courts and public convenience when using the courts;
- better utilize judge and staff time;
- simplify case processing; and
- employ court performance standards.
Potential areas for coordination include, but are not limited to:
- specialty calendars;
- jury services;
- interpreter services;
- personnel services;
- probation services;
- facilities management;
- information services;
- budget planning; and
- legal research.
CALL TO ACTION
The Board for Judicial Administration:
- Calls upon the Legislature to provide funding of $500,000 to support initial trial court coordination planning activities that address the goals stated above;
- Declares its willingness to administer the funds according to objective criteria and timelines established by BJA, which promote the maximum utilization of judicial and other court resources to accomplish (i) increased efficiency and effectiveness in court operations, while preserving the courts' basic purpose of administering justice, and (ii) increased service to the public;
- Commits to work in collaboration with other branches of government, with trial courts judges, court administrators, county clerks, lawyers, local officials, and others as necessary to remove impediments to achieving trial court efficiencies in rules, court procedures or otherwise, and to provide technical assistance and guidance as trial courts develop and implement plans to cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate;
- Calls upon the presiding superior court judge, presiding district court judge, and a representative presiding judge from the municipal courts in a jurisdiction (i) to institute a broadly based Court Coordination Council, (ii) for the council to develop a comprehensive court coordination plan to further the goals described above, and (iii) to implement the plan;
- Suggests that members of a Court Coordination Council should be broadly based to include representatives of stakeholders in the current system to participate in, support and provide important guidance in effectively developing and implementing a court coordination plan; and
- Directs OAC to provide technical assistance to the local Court Coordination Councils in the areas of organization, development of business plans, potential areas of coordination, development of performance measures, and funding requests.
- Adopts the following criteria for administering funds provided by the Legislaure:
- Jurisdictions must have in place a Court Coordination Council;
- The project must include a definition of the problem to be solved or objectives to be attained;
- The project must fit into a BJA priority area; and
- An evaluation component detailing how the success of the program will be measured must be included.
|Gerry L. Alexander
||James M. Murphy
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, Co-Chair
Judge James M. Murphy, Co-Chair
Board for Judicial Administration
Board for Judicial Administration