After a period of general uncertainty in the California courts, driven by budget pressures, it is great to see that the Judicial Council has reaffirmed the importance of self-help, as viewed throughout the system. On May 17, the Council issued REINVESTING IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, Judicial Branch Accountability & Outcomes for Fiscal Year 2013–2014.
This document includes the following:
Trial Court Funding Priorities
At the request of the Chief Justice, trial court presiding judges and court executive officers have identified the top priorities for which they would anticipate expending new appropriations of funds to improve access to justice. The top priority of the trial courts is to reduce structural deficits in order to restore support staff sufficient to provide improved access to justice in the following areas:
Restore and expand self-help services.
Restore standard business hours.
Reduce delays in adjudicating cases.
Reopen closed facilities or suspend anticipated closures.
Increase services through automation and efficient business practices.
The system remains one with very broad local discretion, and so it is particularly reassuring to see that this reflects broad information gathering from leaders at the local level. I hope that similar exercises in other states yield similar results. At a minimum this shows that sustained investment reaps the kind of benefits that build long term support for these services.