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Changing Character of Court Organization

NCJ Number
Justice System Journal Volume: 7 Issue: 3 Dated: (Winter 1982) Pages: 449-469
Date Published
25 pages
The article summarizes the findings of an empirical study of the effects of court structure on court management and performance, giving particular attention to the structure supported by advocates of unification.
It is argued that unification can be best understood as an effort to define the courts as formal organizations. An assessment of the impact of such changes, therefore, must take account of alternative forms for structuring a judicial system. The field work demonstrated that no simple organizational structure will meet equally well all three types of goals, that is, improved quality of justice, better court management and enhanced political position. Moreover, the two dimensions at the heart of organizational design -- centralization and consolidation -- had independent, sometimes conflicting effects. Finally, the effect of any structural design depends, in large measure, on the type of adjudicatory process involved. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1982