Four Metrics Courts Should Be Watching

For decades, courts have been strategically implementing new technologies to modernize judicial processes and provide better service to constituents. These systems are bursting with information about how efficient court truly are, but are officials fully leveraging this data?

More than using technology to move away from paper and filing cabinets, you have an unprecedented opportunity to truly understand your court’s productivity and then use that information to improve the justice system as a whole.

By analyzing the following metrics, you can visualize the performance of your entire organization to then strategically deploy resources that create new efficiencies and strengthen the justice system.

1. Clearance Rates

The clearance rate helps you use court data to understand how well your organization is keeping up with its incoming caseload. It is calculated by comparing the number of closed cases to the number of incoming cases. While the clearance rate will vary depending on multiple factors, a consistent clearance rate below 100 percent can lead to case backlogs.

By monitoring this metric, you can pinpoint emerging problems and make improvements to existing court processes.

2. Average Time to Disposition

The sixth amendment of the constitution guarantees a speedy trial, but how can you be certain your court is upholding that fundamental right? A traditional yardstick for measuring court performance and management effectiveness, the time to disposition serves as a benchmark for determining whether the pace of court proceedings is resolved within established time frames.

Tracking the average time to disposition allows you to implement standards for resolving different case types and ensure your court is performing as expected.

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 that move “through the system without interruption.”

You can effectively identify and remove issues that might interrupt the process by continually monitoring this metric.

4. Trial Date Certainty

While most cases will be resolved without a one, trials are by far the most familiar and resource-intensive activity for courts. Trials bring in people from within and outside the justice system, so it is essential that they are scheduled predictably to avoid unnecessary inconveniences and expenses.

Better understanding the court’s ability to hold trials on the first date they are scheduled to be heard help you make it easier for litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and jurors to participate.

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