On April 20, 2016, the Maryland Judicial Council approved a Maryland Caseflow Management Guide for both the Circuit and District Courts statewide. The guide includes case management plan templates for all major casetypes for each court to use as a baseline for the development or modification of existing plans. The case management templates are for civil, criminal, family, and juvenile casetypes in the Circuit Courts; and for criminal, traffic must appear, traffic DUI, traffic payable, civil, and landlord tenant casetypes in the District Court. The project has been built around the concept of local legal culture and the need for local courts to guide procedural justice – to set expectations on the bench and with their justice partners for timeliness and fairness in case processing. The goals of the project include the following:
Goal 1 – Gain and maintain public trust and confidence through transparency and accountability. Objectives include fairness, customer satisfaction, and efficient timely disposition of all case types
Goal 2 – Accountability to the public. Objectives include efficiency, avoidance of unnecessary delay enabling courts to meet time standards, the ability to plan and implement an efficient use of resources and determine effective results (measure performance), and balancing of resources with case management
JMI has been working with the Judiciary to draft the guides and templates; and with several pilot sites to develop case management plans. The projects have included close participation of the bench, administration, and clerical staff in each court to identify case tracks and address policies, procedures, and performance outcomes. As important, each local court has reached out to local justice partners, including the Bar, State’s Attorney, and Public Defender to seek feedback and comment prior to formal adoption of the case management plans.
Other key components of the case management initiative have included case management training for the executive teams from each court,; for new judges as part of their first year training program; and for all associate judges across the entire statewide bench. Case management training is provided by the Judicial Institute of Maryland, with faculty from JMI and the AOC.