Presentation on theme: "CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT AND DELAY REDUCTION IN COURTS"— Presentation transcript:
1 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT AND DELAY REDUCTION IN COURTS David C. SteelmanNational Center for State CourtsWorld Bank Presentation, June 24, 2004
2 NATIONAL CENTER FOR STATE COURTS A non-profit organization serving state and local courts in the US and justice systems abroadMission: To promote justice through leadership and service to courtsConsulting and technical assistanceInformation and educationResearch and technologyInternational programsAssociation services
3 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT The Heart of Court Management
4 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENTThe entire set of actions that a court takes to monitor and control the progress of cases, from commencement through trial or other initial disposition to the completion of all postdisposition court work, in order to make sure that justice is done promptly.
5 How (and why) did the theory and principles of caseflow management develop in the United States?
6 HISTORY OF DELAY IN AMERICAN COURTS U.S. Constitution, 6th Amendment (1789): “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a right to a speedy and public trial.”“Speedy justice is a thing unknown; and any justice, without delays almost ruinous, is most rare” (David Dudley Field, 1839)In Beavers v. Haubert (1905), the U.S. Supreme Court held that what is a “speedy” trial depends on individual case circumstances (and can be consistent with delays).“The causes of popular dissatisfaction with the administration of justice [include] uncertainty, delay and expense” (Roscoe Pound, 1906)“Complaints about the evil of delay in litigation come from every quarter of American society” (Arthur Vanderbilt, 1957)
7 U.S. REFORM EFFORTS TO REDUCE DELAY BEFORE 1970’S Simplify court structure & jurisdictionStreamline rules of procedureReassign judges to reduce backlogReduce case volumeIncrease court resourcesUse short-term “crash programs” to reduce court backlogs
8 A “SEA CHANGE” IN U.S. THINKING ABOUT DELAY IN THE 1970’S US Supreme Court due process mandatesJudicial administration standardsEmergence of professional court managersFederal government policies and grantsStudies finding that court delay does not necessarily correlate with case volume, court size, or other structural features
9 REFLECTIONS OF CHANGING U.S PHILOSOPHY IN 1970’s Maureen Solomon (ABA 1973): Judges must be committed to controlling case progress & must have assistance of court managers.Steven Flanders (FJC 1977): Fastest federal trial courts monitor pleadings, set times for discovery completion, & provide prompt trials.Thomas Church (NCSC 1978): Urban trial courts with speediest pace of litigation have changed expectations of “local legal culture.”
10 THE “NEW” CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ABOUT DELAY REDUCTION IN U.S. COURTS Court delay cannot be ascribed solely to court size, caseload, case mix, or trial rate.Solutions based on court resources or formal rules and procedures are not sufficient to reduce delay.To reduce and avoid delay, court leaders must have a long-term commitment to active management of the pace of litigation.
11 What Has Research Shown To Be The Essential Elements of Successful Caseflow Management in U.S. Courts?
14 WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “ACTIVE MANAGEMENT”? Setting appropriate expectationsUsing IT data and other information to monitor and measure actual events in light of expectationsTaking responsible steps to bring actual performance closer to expectations
15 EXAMPLES OF EXPECTATIONS FOR CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT Time StandardsBacklog reduction & size of pending inventoryContinuance policyControlling costs of justiceMaintaining equality, fairness & integrity
16 AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION TIME STANDARDS Time to Disposition (in Months)90 Pct Pct PctGeneral CivilDomestic RelationsFelonyMisdemeanor
17 USING INFORMATION TO MONITOR AND MEASURE ACTUAL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE Caseload Clearance: Number of cases cleared as percentage of total cases filedCase Processing Time: Percentage of cases reaching initial disposition within established time standardsCase Backlog: Percentage of pending cases that are older than established time standardsTrial Date Certainty: Average number of times cases must be scheduled for trial before they are actually tried or otherwise disposed
18 ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY Enforcing accountability in caseflow management:Court system responsibility for providing results for citizensCase-by-case responsibility of judges, lawyers, and court staff membersReporting performance against expectationsTaking responsible steps to improve actual performance in terms of expectationsApplying appropriate techniques consistent with caseflow management principles
20 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR U.S. COURTS Early & continuous court control of case progressDifferentiated case managementMeaningful events & realistic schedulesFirm & credible trial datesTrial managementManagement of court events after initial disposition
21 EARLY & CONTINUOUS COURT CONTROL “Early control” means that court uses IT to monitor case progress from initiation and creates a schedule for case progress to dispositionEarly court involvement recognizes that 95% of cases in U.S. are disposed without trialContinuous control -- each case always has a next scheduled eventCourt objective: resolve cases at earliest appropriate point in process
22 DIFFERENTIATED CASE MANAGEMENT (DCM) Early case screening for complexity based on established criteriaAssignment of cases to unique processing tracks based on screening assessmentDifferent court management procedures for each trackVariety of case assignment systems, best suited to each track
23 MEANINGFUL EVENTS & REALISTIC SCHEDULES Maxims of caseflow management in U.S.:Lawyers settle cases, not judgesLawyers settle cases when preparedLawyers prepare for meaningful eventsManagement Techniques:Set events on a short schedule -- long enough to allow preparation, short enough to encourage preparationCreate realistic expectation that events will happen when scheduled
24 EARLY & FIRM TRIAL DATES Causes parties to be prepared for trial, and in U.S. most settle their casesMethods:Maximize dispositions before setting trial datesUse IT data to aid creation of realistic calendar setting levelsCreate & have judges consistently enforce a reasonable policy limiting continuancesHave backup judge capacity
25 TRIAL MANAGEMENTPrepare for trial with trial management conference, especially in more serious casesSchedule to start trials on time & provide adequate time for themManage jury selectionMaintain trial momentumEstablish & enforce time limitsJury versus nonjury trials
26 MANAGEMENT OF CASES AFTER INITIAL DISPOSITION Monitor status of cases after entry of judgmentCreate appropriate time expectations and control pace of post-disposition eventsUse IT to identify and manage any post-disposition links to other casesDetermine when all court work is done
27 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT FOR FELONY CASES Use IT to monitor time from arrest to disposition in terms of time standardsAssemble key participants & critical case information early in caseEarly determination of eligibility for public defenderEarly public defender involvement & contact with clientEarly provision of “discovery package” from prosecutor to defenseScreen case for DCM track assignmentActively manage pretrial eventsScheduling orderEarly decisions on motions, especially suppression motionsProsecutor-defense pretrial conference with realistic plea offerPlea cut-off dateProvide early & firm trial date
28 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT FOR GENERAL CIVIL CASES Monitor case progress from filing to disposition in view of time standardsProvide early court involvement & controlMonitor filing of responsive pleadingDefault judgment/dismissal for want of prosecutionEarly case conference & scheduling orderEarly referral to ADRScreen case for DCM track assignmentRequire attorneys to attach “case information sheet” (CIS) at filing to inform court about nature of caseCIS includes counsel request for track assignmentTrack assignment controls time to discovery completion & other details of case progressManage discovery & pretrial motionsProvide early & firm trial date
29 MANAGING BUSINESS & COMPLEX LITIGATION Monitor case progress from filing to disposition in view of time standardsProvide early & active judge involvement:Case management scheduleFrequent & meaningful case status conferencesDirect availability to resolve case management disputes & problemsProvide early access to alternative dispute resolution (ADR)Make effective use of IT:Electronic filing, notices, and case communicationVideoconferencing & database technologiesInteractive software to integrate key filings with references to statutes & case law“High Tech” courtroom with presentation software for effective presentation of trial evidenceProvide appropriate early & firm trial date
30 HOW APPLICABLE ARE CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES IN COURTS OUTSIDE THE U.S.?
31 CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT EFFORTS BY NCSC’S INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS DIVISION Projects with demonstrable results:Dominican Republic: work with courts and prosecutors dramatically increased dispositions and cut times to disposition in halfEgypt: delay reduction effort through caseflow management with IT reduced civil times to disposition by 42% in pilot courtsProjects with results still pending:Bangladesh: Pace of litigation under study & caseflow management model under developmentNepal: Study of Supreme Court has led to suggestions to reduce disposition times & size of pending inventoryCroatia: IT & system changes in largest court (Zagreb) to promote fair & efficient case dispositions
33 PROPOSED CIVIL CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR EGYPT PILOT COURTS (1998) Leadership by Ministry of Justice & Pilot Court Chief JusticesTime StandardsActive court supervision of service of processMonitoring of case progress from time of filingCourt control of timely case preparation by partiesCourt control of work by expertsCase held for judgment at early & firm date
34 DRAFT EGYPTIAN NATIONAL DELAY REDUCTION PLAN FOR CIVIL CASES (2002) Active management of cases by judgesJudge screening of cases for referral to experts & judge management of expert workManagement of case papers to facilitate monitoring by judgesTime standards“Statement of Procedures” form for judges to control scheduling of hearingsActive exploration of possible amicable settlementActive use of IT resourcesImplementation plan & timetable
36 IDEAS FOR CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT IN BOLOGNA GENERAL-JURISDICTION TRIBUNAL Attention to resource problems (staff & facilities)Commitment by judges to active caseflow managementTime standards and active monitoring of case ageEmphasis on early plea bargains and summary trials (criminal) and agreed settlements (civil)Policy discouraging trial date continuances in criminal casesEarly scheduling orders for civil cases to proceed promptly to court decision phase
37 BARRIERS TO CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT IN ITALY Education and socialization of judges, prosecutors, and lawyersLeadership of judiciaryBackground and status of court managersJudicial independenceRequirements of law and procedureDistrust of government and political conflict
38 HOW DO WE CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENTS MIGHT FLOURISH?
40 ESTABLISHING A SECURE MANAGEMENT ENVIRONMENT SUITABLE FOR CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT SUCCESS LeadershipCommitment to shared visionCommunicationsLearning Environment
41 LEADERSHIPWith time standards, probably the most important element of successAttributes include capacity to establish and communicate a compelling vision, political skill, tenacity, and continuityHas come from different sources in U.S:Leadership by a court’s Chief Judge or Presiding JudgeJudicial system leadershipLeadership from bar or other sourcesChief Judge-Court Manager executive team
42 COMMITMENT TO SHARED VISION Performance expectations for courts that include prompt and affordable justiceJudge commitment to managing pace of litigationCourt staff involvement & understandingSupport from others with an interest in the court process
43 COMMUNICATION Among judges Between judges and court staff Within judicial systemWith members of the private barWith court-related government agenciesWith others interested in courtsCaseflow management committees
44 LEARNING ENVIRONMENTSpecific education and training about caseflow managementEmphasis on learning in the court and the judicial systemCourt as a “learning organization”
45 CONCLUSION: CASEFLOW MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT AND THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE
46 THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE It should be kept in mind that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than to introduce a new system of things; for the introducer has as his enemies all those who benefit from the old system, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would benefit from the new system.--Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513), Chapter VI
47 KINDS OF RESISTANCE TO CHANGE Internal Individual Resistance: For an individual judge or court staff member, fear that change will cause loss, or belief that change does not make sense.Internal Group Resistance: Perception among groups of judges or groups of court staff that change will lead to a less desirable work situation.External Resistance: Opposition to change from members of the “local legal culture,” who have learned how to operate effectively in the existing environment.
48 INITIAL THOUGHTS ON CHANGE MANAGEMENT IN COURTS OUTSIDE THE U.S. Develop a compelling set of performance expectations.Seek champions among leaders of the Court of Last Resort, the National Association of Judges and Prosecutors, and the Ministry of Justice.Find ways to encourage and empower individual judges, court managers, and court staff members, trying to minimize retribution, resignation, and cynicism.Be flexible:Look for ways to achieve small victories.Be prepared to respond quickly to unanticipated opportunities.Always remember that “Court improvement is not for the short-winded” (Arthur Vanderbilt).
50 TWO SOURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION David Steelman, with John Goerdt and James McMillan, Caseflow Management: The Heart of Court Management in the New Millennium (2000)(now available in re-formatted 3rd printing)David Steelman, Business Process Enhancement Manual (Sacramento, CA, and Williamsburg, VA: Search, Inc., and National Center for State Courts, for COSCA/NACM Joint Technology Committee,