Report No. 127
Creation of a New Professional - The Court Executive
3.28. The Court Executive should be given control of managing the courts. The person, of necessity, must be highly qualified. His areas of expertise should include, amongst others, broad managerial skills, knowledge of the structure of judicial system, familiarity with legal procedures, comprehension of computer sciences and data processing techniques and skills and personnel recruitment, selection and placement. It might take considerable time to develop such a highly qualified and specialist expert. Nevertheless, in order to properly and efficiently manage an organisation as large and complex as the courts, it is necessary to cultivate and nurture such knowledgeable administrators. In short, a new profession would have to be created. Inter-disciplinary education programmes could be established to train individuals as Court Executives.
3.29. The primary responsibility would remain with the Judiciary to formulate management policies of the court and it would then be up to the Court Executive to ensure that these policies were implemented (under the supervision and scrutiny of the Judiciary).
3.30. It thus transpires that, in order to improve judicial administration, the utilisation of management consultants and other experts who can bring their knowledge to bear upon this subject is unavoidable. Use of the expertise in meeting problems of judicial administration is indispensable. Apart from the Court Executive, what is needed is a 'National Judicial Centre', which can form part of the National Judicial Service Commission (Commission will not only be dealing with appointment and training of judicial officers), for the co-ordination and development of-
(a) court staff, their conditions of service;
(b) training procedure for the new staff;
(c) standardised court room facilities; and
(d) recording of cases in computers on a national regular comprehensive basis.
3.31. Entry of mechanisation and modern court management systems into court has been delayed too much. Tape recorders, Dictaphones, xeroxing machines, calculators, computers, microphones and whole array of other gadgets, when put to use, will minimise avoidable court time and economies time spent in existing methods of administration. The fossilised court system can be discarded and new technology introduced which will quicken the pace and streamline the assembly line operation of the case flow. The Use of Computers and Other Technological Tools
3.32. The most sophisticated of the new management technology is the computer. The computers efficiently speed up the court proceedings.
3.33. Data processing is one of the foremost uses to which computers are put in an attempt to ease case backlogs and increase court efficiency. In planning, for the adoption of data processing programme within a court system, three essential steps must be taken:
(1) It is necessary to design a system of reporting each step of every case.
(2) It must be determined what electronic equipment is necessary.
(3) It is necessary to have an adequately trained staff capable of dealing with the information provided by the equipment. A properly programmed computer run by skilled operators can produce an infinite number of comparisons and information which would enable the courts to better control the cases and thus reduce the backlog.1
1. E. Tennessey Architectural and Electronic Innovations for Improving Court House Administrative Efficiency, 6 Suffolk University Law Review, 989, 997 (1972).
3.34. The courts which have a great volume of activity are readily adaptable to data processing because such a programme recourse the number of personnel needed to keep court records current and would eliminate to a great extent the bulky filing equipment, thereby reducing the space needed for record keeping.1
3.35. Data processing has speeded up the process of motor vehicle violation in the traffic courts and, on the civil side, it has provided valuable information and statistics to prevent calendar conflicts for attorneys and insurance companies in the area.1
1. Id., p. 998.
3.36. Computer can also increase efficiency in the area of court calendaring since congested and conflicting court calendars cause delay in court proceedings.1 Computers can not only be used to improve the clerical aspect of judicial administration but also to retrieve case law and statutory material, the latter being more necessary in view of frequent amendments of the statute law.2
2. Id., p. 999.
3.37. The computers in courts offer an up-to-now unheard of capacity for analysis and evaluation of court operations. The use of computers allows a systems analysis of courts and judicial process. Systems analysis examines the operating relationship of a system's part to determine how will they operate together, because the system is seen as the sum of its parts. At the same time, systems analysis keeps a global or system wide perspective while working on detail. The parts of the whole system are important in so far as they contribute to the system's goals.
3.38. The ultimate object of the analysis of a system is to determine its effectiveness. Effectiveness is measured by how well it operates, including such factors as the presence or absence of delay between points in the process. Effectiveness can be measured according to the workload and cost to produce that workload when compared with other court systems without a systems examination; it is often impossible to know whether some parts are duplicating efforts of other parts or are incompatible with one another. Systems concept together with the computers have begun to force long-range thinking outside daily operations, that is, planning and research.1
1. See generally D. Miller, C. Baar Judicial Administration in Canada, Chapter 10.
3.39. Many courts abroad have found it worthwhile to computerise their information system. However, it is essential to remember that no computer can be brought into a court to 'solve' that court's delay problems. Unless the court has a plan to reduce delay, the court will not be able to tell computer programmers what information to collect and what reports to produce. Computers have often played an important role when they have accompanied efforts by courts to reduce delay through active case flow management, but computers have failed when they have merely been substituted for planning and hard work needed by the human beings within a court.1
1. C. Baar The Use of Active Case Flow Management to Reduce Delay.