With support from SJI, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation , and the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission, the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice (NCCALJ) presented its final report to Chief Justice Mark Martin earlier this month during a ceremony at the Supreme Court of North Carolina. The report includes recommendations to strengthen the state’s court system to best meet institutional needs and 21st century public expectations.
Convened by Chief Justice Martin in September 2015, NCCALJ is an independent, multidisciplinary study group created to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the judicial system and make recommendations for strengthening our courts within the existing administrative framework. Recommendations featured in the report include:
- implementing a strategic technology plan for paperless courthouses;
- raising the juvenile age;
- reducing case delays and improving efficiency; and,
- assisting the growing number of self-represented litigants.
These recommendations reflect the understanding that public trust and confidence in the courts is at its highest when the courts are seen as fair, accessible, and effectively managed.
NCCALJ is an independent, multidisciplinary commission comprised of leaders from business, academia, the Judicial Branch, the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, the legal profession, and the nonprofit sector. The Commission’s diverse membership was divided into five Committees corresponding to five areas of inquiry: 1) Civil Justice; 2) Criminal Investigation and Adjudication; 3) Legal Professionalism; 4) Public Trust and Confidence; and 5) Technology.
The committees conducted research, consulted with numerous experts and court officials, and engaged in collaborative discussions to identify areas for improvement in North Carolina’s court system. This past summer, the Commission produced interim reports and gathered public input through online comments and four public meetings held across the state.
“The Commission’s recommendations create a framework for dramatic, systemic improvement in the administration of justice in North Carolina,” said Chief Justice Martin. “The work of this blue-ribbon Commission will help ensure that North Carolina’s Judicial Branch meets the needs and expectations that the people of North Carolina have for fair, modern and impartial courts.”
The Administrative Office of the Courts, along with other component parts of the Judicial Branch, will implement the Commission’s recommendations.