CALIFORNIA COURTS – COUNCIL HEARS HOW INCREASE IN FUNDING HELPED COURTS EXPAND SERVICES FOR THE PUBLIC
SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council today (05/17/19) received a report on how the state’s trial courts used additional funding included in this fiscal year’s judicial branch budget to expand hours, reopen closed locations, and invest in new technology to increase access and improve court efficiency for the public.
“Our courts are recovering from past deficits to provide more service to the public we serve,” said Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. “We’ve come full circle.”
Courts, for example, used the $19.1 million included in the 2018 state budget to expand self-help services to help litigants without attorneys navigate the court system. By the end of December, 27 courts had already expanded hours of self-help centers, opened new centers, or re-opened ones previously shuttered due to budget cuts. Statewide, courts had already hired 18 new attorneys and expanded the hours of eight additional attorneys to help Californians with civil filings that include domestic violence, elder abuse, or eviction cases.
In addition, the state budget provided nearly $100 million in funding—with nearly half of that amount earmarked for the most underfunded counties—to improve general court operations. Many courts reported the new funding helped them hire more staff to reopen closed courtrooms and reduce or eliminate case backlogs; increase hours at public counters; and reopen facilities previously closed due to budget cuts.
Courts also used discretionary funding to invest in new case management and document storage systems that will increase the public’s access to court records and information.
Categorized in: General