A recent webinar conducted by the National Center for State Courts (“NCSC”) titled “Essential Steps to Tackle Backlog and Prepare for a Surge in New Cases” is now available for viewing online. The webinar features useful advice for court officials provided by Jennifer Bailey, Administrative Judge of the Civil Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, and Gregory Sakall, Presiding Judge of the Family Division of the Superior Court in Pima County, Arizona.
Webinar topics include:
State courts across the country mostly shut down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some courts transitioned quickly to a remote working environment, physical courthouses were generally closed for in-person proceedings, including jury and bench trials. As a result, state courts face a large backlog of civil and family cases waiting for judges and court staff as they resume slightly more normal court operations. Complicating the task of tackling backlogs is the specter of a surge of civil and family cases in the coming months due to the economic impact of stay-at-home orders in most states. For judges and court staff, “working harder” will not be enough to fully address either the existing backlog or increased civil and family caseloads, especially given expected cuts to judicial system budgets and as court resources are shifted internally to address similar backlogs on criminal dockets. At the same time, and perhaps now more than ever before, courts have an obligation to use resources wisely and work efficiently, and to do so in a way that does not compromise access to justice or jeopardize critical and well-established principles of procedural fairness. During this webinar, respected state court leaders discussed essential steps to make civil and family case processing more effective, efficient, and fair to litigants.