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California Judicial Branch Policy Making

The California Judicial Council has been at the forefront of historical reforms

By Chris Micheli, July 3, 2020 5:30 am

The judicial branch of state government in California engages in policy making through the Judicial Council. The Council makes policy for the courts in this state, including the Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and Superior Courts. Article VI of the state Constitution (Sections 4, 6 and 12) provides for the role of the Judicial Council.

The Council’s “Guiding Principle” is to “provide leadership in the judicial branch by using a set of guiding principles, while working to improve the future of the judicial branch by overcoming common fundamental challenges.” It also pursues a number of goals, such as providing access, fairness and diversity; independence and accountability; modernization of management and administration; quality of justice and service to the public; as well as adequate, stable and predictable funding for a fully functioning branch.

The Council has a number of ongoing programs and projects, including its Strategic Plan, which “outlines the long-range strategic goals and systematic initiatives of the judicial branch,” annual legislative and budget priorities, and management of court facilities across the state.

The Council is chaired by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and it is charged with ensuring the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice in this state. The Council employs staff to assist it, and utilizes a number of advisory bodies and task forces to help conduct its work.

The following are the Internal Committees of the Council:

The following are the Task Forces of the Council:

The Council has been at the forefront of historical reforms (such as trial court unification) in judicial administration of California’s court system. It also maintains annual reports on court workload information, annual outlook reports, court statistics, and legislative reports. With these historical materials, the Council provides a wealth of valuable information regarding the state’s court system and its operation and the administration of justice in California.

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