Coined by Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack (MI), the expression “not the disruption we wanted, but the disruption we needed” captures the ongoing impact the pandemic has had on America’s state courts.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conference of Chief Justices/Conference of State Court Administrators Rapid Response Team (RRT) and the NCSC have worked to identify and develop innovations and new practices in response to the pandemic. To help spread innovation widely and to continue to learn from sites implementing new practices, the RRT and NCSC are launching the 2021 Implementation Lab. Applications are welcome from courts that would like to participate.
The goal of the Implementation Lab is to foster sustainable innovations across a large, diverse group of courts throughout the United States, to continue to learn about the impact of these innovations, and to share lessons learned throughout the process.
Applications are open to join the Lab in one of these areas of innovation:
- Pre-Trial Practices
- Remote and Virtual Hearings
- Remote Workforce
- Digital Divide
- Online Dispute Resolution
- Virtual Jury Selection and Jury Trials
- Self-Represented Litigants
- Language Access Technology
- High-Volume Dockets
- Eviction Diversion
- Case Management
For the duration of the project, anticipated to run through 2021, NCSC and the RRT will provide resources and technical assistance to the selected sites as they develop and execute implementation plans, evaluate the impact of their innovations, and work to sustain best practices. The Implementation Lab is made possible with SJI funding support. Full details and an application package are available now. Applications are due Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. A first round of selections will be made in early February.
Also, in case you missed it, resources available at www.ncsc.org/pandemic continue to grow:
- With many states extending prohibitions on in-person jury trials, we have updated our map showing statewide jury restrictions (click on the “Statewide Jury Restrictions” tab).
- With large urban centers sometimes enacting tougher restrictions on jury trials, we have added a new tab called “Jury Trial Restrictions By County” that focuses on the nation’s largest urban centers.
- The “Virtual Hearings” tab now includes links to guides to remote hearings that have been published by state courts. Hover over a state, and if a guide is available, a link to that state’s guide will appear.
Finally, be sure to check out the many new resources published on the RRT Pandemic resources web page.