Reimagining Courts

A Design for the Twenty-First Century

Victor E. Flango and Thomas M. Clarke
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1168-6
Publication: Mar 17

HC: $64.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1167-9
Publication: Dec 14

Ebook: $64.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1169-3
Publication: Dec 14

230 pages
5.5 x 8.25
9 tables, 4 line drawings

Promotes practical reform ideas to make courts more effective, more efficient, and more customer friendly

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Description

In their timely and topical book, Reimagining Courts, Victor Flango and Thomas Clarke argue that courts are a victim of their own success. Disputes that once were resolved either informally in the family or within the community are now handled mainly by courts, which strains government agency resources. The authors offer provocative suggestions for a thorough overhaul of American state and local courts, one that better fits the needs of a twenty-first century legal system.

Reimagining Courts recommends a triage process based upon case characteristics, litigant goals, and resolution processes. Courts must fundamentally reorganize their business processes around the concept of the litigant as a customer. Each adjudication process that the authors propose requires a different case management process and different amounts of judicial, staff, and facility resources.

Reimagining Courts should spark much-needed debate. This book will be of significant interest to lawyers, judges, and professionals in the court system as well as to scholars in public administration and political science.

Reviews

Reimagining Courts is an original book that should generate robust discussion. Flango and Clarke present a convincing case that we need to change our conceptions of what courts do and we need to consider the variety of reforms that already exist. The authors raise tough questions that do not have easy answers, providing examples of the provocative kinds of questions that should create strong debate and critical dialogue.” —Robert L. Dudley, Professor of Government, School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University

"The idea of completely re-organizing court functions according to "whether a court is the right forum" for the matter (see p. 40 of the manuscript) and according to issues raised and whether they require adversarial adjudication - as opposed to current court functioning which takes all cases and organizes them by type - is groundbreaking. The authors are obviously very well-versed in the major approaches to this problem and are in an excellent position to envision the alternatives." —Candce McCoy

" The authors propose a series of linked reforms leading toward more, and more intelligent, use of administrative bodies and innovations like drug courts. Flango and Clarke are associated with the National Center for State Courts, and their suggestions are informed by the research done by that respected organization.... The proposals are intriguing and well thought out; many extend experiments currently being tried. Summing Up: Recommended." —Choice

"(A)n important book discussing needed reforms in our American judicial system, written by two individuals who have been privy to the inner workings of state court systems for a number of years.... The crux and most important part of the book is the problem-solving process and the implications thereof.... All in all, Flango and Clarke present a thought-provoking compilation of ideas for court reform." --Judicature

"I agree with Flango and Clarke that courts have been too reticent to rethink what they do and how they do it. Many of the changes they are suggesting can be done internally by the judges and administrative leaders and through negotiations with the Bar. Some require changes in law or state rules, but they all are achievable by those who adopt Flango and Clarke’s vision or a variation of it. Flango and Clarke wisely cite courts that already have adopted and successfully implemented each of their suggestions. The gap between Flango and Clarke’s vision and the cited cutting-edge courts is that no court has implemented all of the ideas. The authors know it will be hard for many courts to adopt some of the ideas soon and maybe even after many years. That realization does not undermine the value of putting the ideas out there so they can be adopted and proven by courts that see their merits." -- Thinking Out Loud

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Acknowledgments

Overview
Vision of the New Court Process
Courts as though Litigants Mattered
The Court Response
Financial Problems Remedies
Plan of This Book

Part I. Aligning Image with Reality
1 Why Courts Need to Be Redesigned
The Challenge: Burgeoning Caseloads Countertrends
Financial Crisis: Engine for Change
2 What Courts Actually Do
Courts Settle Traffic Cases
Criminal Cases
Civil Cases

Part II. Triage and the Four Case-Processing Tracks
3 Triage: Separating Cases by Processing Required
The Need for Triage
Four Adjudicatory Processes
The Adversary Process and Courts Are Intertwined
Routine Cases: The Dispositional Process
The Problem-Solving Process
Triage by Issue
Triage and Processing Tracks

Appendix to Chapter 3. Functional Equivalents to Triage: Historical Strategies

4 The Adversary Process
The Adversary Process Should Be Reserved for Trials
Decreasing Trials
Triage: Trial Worthiness
Role of the Judge: Umpire
Court Staff
Facilities
Court Performance
Proposed Remedies

Appendix to Chapter 4. The Decreasing Number of Jury and Bench Trials

5 The Dispositional Process
Criminal Processing
Civil Cases
Triage
Role of the Judge: Adjudicator
Court Staff
Facilities
Court Performance
Implications

6 The Administrative Process
Purpose
Caseload
Triage
Role of the Judge: Administrator
Alternatives

Appendix to Chapter 6. Substituting Court Jurisdiction with Administrative Jurisdiction: An Example

7 The Problem-Solving Process
Specialized Problem-Solving Courts
Unified Family Courts
Workload
Role of the Judge: Problem Solver
Court Staff
Facilities
Triage
Can Specialized Problem-Solving Courts Be Reconciled with Court Reform?
Are Triage and Coordination the Answer?

8 Implications of the Problem-Solving Approach for Court Reform
Two Separate Processes: The Legal Model and the Medical Model
Medical Model in Corrections
Medical Model versus Legal Model in Courts
Treatment Focus
Why the Two Processes Must Be Kept Separate
Mainstreaming Problem-Solving Principles
Is Treatment a Court Responsibility?

Part III. Making the Reimagined Court a Reality
9 Case-Triage Strategies in Action
Reducing Jurisdiction
Increasing Litigant Choice
Streamlining Processes
Optimizing Scarce Resources
Implications for Judicial and Court Staff Selection, Education, and Training
Putting It All Together

10 Implementing the Vision of a Modern Court
The Worldview of the Modern Court
Suggestions for Reform
Barriers to Implementation
Getting There from Here

Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author(s)

Victor E. Flango has recently retired as Executive Director, Program Resource Development at the National Center for State Courts.

Thomas M. Clarke is Vice President for Research and Technology at the National Center for State Courts.


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