judicial administration

Primary tabs

Judicial administration consists of the practices, procedures and offices that deal with the management of the system of the courts. Judicial administration, or administration of the courts, has traditionally been concerned with overseeing budgets, selecting jury pools, assigning judges to cases, creating court calendars of activities, and supervising non-judicial personnel. Court administrators, or clerks of the court, accept the filing of court documents, maintain a file system of cases and a record of all final judgments, and process paperwork generated by judges. Court administrators are also responsible for eliminating racial and gender bias in the courts, ensuring diversity in the court system, and providing easier access to the courts for persons representing themselves without an attorney (pro se or pro per litigants). A leading issue in court administration is certification of court interpreters for testimony given in languages other than English. 

Offices of professional responsibility, which administer and investigate ethical complaints against lawyers, are also part of the system of judicial administration. Many states require that lawyers take continuing legal education courses so as to maintain professional competence. Appropriate offices have been created in state court administrations for accrediting continuing legal education programs and monitoring compliance by lawyers.

State courts are usually organized under direction of a state court administrator who oversees legislative budgets, personnel administration, and court research and planning. At the federal level there is a clerk of court in each federal district who has duties similar to that of court administrator.

 The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of justice, provides local and state courts with technical assistance. The Institute for Court Management (ICM), a division of the NCSC has developed educational, training, and court executive development programs to prepare court leaders. The ICM assists court administrators by disseminating information on new methods and techniques of court administration.

[Last updated in June of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]