MSC seeks comment on proposed judicial performance measures

The Michigan Supreme Court is interested in measuring trial court performance and providing public access to the reports.

Proposed Administrative Order No. 2012-XX would authorize the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) to create standardized methods for evaluating trial court performance.

The proposal is broad in concept but short on details.

The concept:

Performance measurement is a critical means to assess the services provided to the public and the processes used to deliver those services. Performance measurement can assist in assessing and recognizing areas within courts that are working well, and those that require attention and improvement.

Trial court performance measures are not a new concept. The National Center for State Courts first issued the 10 CourTools in 2005; in the 1990s, SCAO formed a task force, including judges and court administrators, to study how to measure a court’s performance. In 2009, the state court administrator convened the Trial Court Performance Measures Committee, which piloted performance measures and offered recommendations. The committee stressed that all trial courts should embrace performance measures as an opportunity to provide high-quality public service in the most efficient way. Further, because transparency and accountability are integral elements of an efficient and effective judiciary, SCAO’s standardized statewide performance measure reports should be readily available to the public.

How might all of this work? That’s largely being left to the SCAO to figure out:

A. The State Court Administrative Office is directed to:

1. Develop a plan for implementation of performance measures in all trial courts.

2. Assist trial courts in implementing and posting performance measures.

3. In conjunction with the Trial Court Performance Measures Committee, assess and report on the effectiveness of the performance measures and modify the measures as needed.

B. Trial courts are directed to:

1. Comply with the trial court performance measures plan developed by the State Court Administrative Office.

2. Report performance measure information to the State Court Administrative Office.

C. SCAO’s standardized statewide performance measure reports shall be made available to the public on the Internet.

Got some thoughts about this? Refer to the proposal for information on submitting comments. The comment period closes Nov. 1.

4 thoughts on “MSC seeks comment on proposed judicial performance measures

  1. “performance measures”? Could use some definition, ya think? Does it simply mean dispositions? Or does it mean “quality” in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sense? And how does one measure THAT in a judge and his/her court? Don’t most attorneys recognize which judges and their courtrooms attain high “performance measures” and which ones don’t?
    Something meaningful out of this renewed exercise will fail if it focuses principally on “dispositions”. The consequences of earlier focuses on dispositions have already been seen for better or worse – and they are not all bad, but…dispositions as a measure can also have an adverse effect on quality. After all, each case IS, by definition, different and a multiplicity of facts, parties, attorneys and “The Law” affect differently every “disposition”. So what are the “performance measures”?”
    If, on the other hand, “performance measures” focus on bringing the courtroom into the present century by embracing and utilizing everyday electronic communications in the prosecution of cases, then such measures will definitely and generally benefit the legal system delivery of services to the public.
    So I look forward to seeing SCAO’s efforts in this initiative.

  2. Thanks for the link. All of the measures are relevant, but certainty of trial date ranks high for me. Also, the costs marker really is top narrowly focused on the court’s internal operation, it seems. Shouldn’t it be broader to recognize that snail mail and paper filings impose costs on the litigants (well, their attorneys) and that electronic filing ought to get a high emphasis in the cost area. It will not only reduce the litigants costs but the clerk-work of filing will be reduced and accompanied by a reduction in court staff. The federal courts have helped show the way. State courts should follow their lead.

  3. Pingback: The Michigan Lawyer: MSC seeks comment on proposed judicial performance measures - ADR Toolbox

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