On March 21, 2016, the family law calendar heard at the San Bernardino Historic Courthouse will expand to 10 full time judicial officers. The expansion will in effect add two full time family law departments to the existing calendar, and is part of the commitment of the San Bernardino Superior Court to increase access to the courts as additional funding becomes available.
The resulting transition from the current calendaring system to the new calendaring system will be done in a way to minimize the number of cases that will have to be re-assigned to a new judicial officer. It is anticipated the expansion of Historic Courthouse Family Law departments to 10 should reduce the individual judicial officers’ caseload by over 17%.
The San Bernardino Superior Court, Family Law departments have historically carried extremely high caseloads. The high caseloads have resulted in long waits for parties to have their matters heard by a judicial officer and congested calendars. Family law cases often involve very difficult and complex issues that are of vital importance to families.
The expansion of Family Law to 10 full time departments allows the court to fully promote the intent of the Elkins Task Force memorialized at California Rules of Court, Rule 5.83 by providing a framework through which dissolution, legal separation, nullity and parentage cases are resolved in a timely, fair, and effective manner. The Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino will begin a pilot program to meet these goals under the oversight of Commissioner Michael Gassner to begin in June 2016.