Four Key Metrics for Courts

March 25, 2022 by Meredith Trimble

Four Key Metrics for Courts

For decades, courts have been strategically implementing new technologies to modernize judicial processes and better serve constituents. New software systems have increased access to justice, created significant efficiencies, and are bursting with useful data.

At this stage, smart courts must ask, “what comes next?” Specifically, how can court officials move from just collecting and digitally storing data to using the insight it provides? Leveraging information already at hand is the key to fully understanding and improving operations.

Following are four metrics courts should analyze to leverage their data for enhanced performance.

1. Clearance Rates

The clearance rate compares the number of cases closed to the number of incoming cases. This information shows a court how well it is keeping up with caseload and demand. A consistent clearance rate below 100% can indicate troublesome case backlogs. Monitoring this metric enables leaders to pinpoint emerging problems and take quick action to improve processes.

2. Average Time to Disposition

A speedy trial is a fundamental constitutional right in America. How well are courts upholding this? Measuring time to disposition provides a benchmark for determining court performance and assessing the pace of court proceedings. Tracking this metric allows officials to implement standards around resolution times for various case types.

3. Age of Active Pending Cases

When a court inventories that age of its active pending cases, it can better determine the resources needed to process the caseload in a timely manner. The National Center for State Courts defines active pending cases as those moving “through the system without interruption.” Taking inventory of active pending cases can help a court determine the resources needed to process its caseload in a timeline manner.

4. Trial Date Certainty

Trials are a court’s most resource-intensive activity. Because they include internal and external participants, schedules should be consistent and predictable to avoid logistical burdens and added expenses.

Using data to analyze these metrics is an important step toward full digital maturity. Understanding a court’s performance leads to more strategic allocation of resources as well as new efficiencies benefiting all stakeholders.

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