California Final Report from the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System

In July of 2014, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye established the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System to “take an in-depth look at the way our trial courts are serving the people of California.” The Commission included 63 members drawn from around the state with a diverse set of backgrounds, as well as working groups on civil, criminal/traffic, family/juvenile, fiscal/court administration, and technology. The Commission conducted a survey to solicit ideas on how the branch could be more efficient and effective, and it also held five public comment sessions to inform the Commission’s recommendations. The Commission’s work culminated in a final Report to the Chief Justice from the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System, which was submitted to the Chief Justice on April 26, 2017.

The report from the Commission focuses on practical ways to more effectively adjudicate cases, achieve greater fiscal stability, and use technology to enhance the public’s access to the courts. The breadth of the report is tremendous, making sweeping recommendations in criminal law, civil law, family law, court administration, and technology. 

The final report includes:

  1. The creation of tiers for civil cases based on amount in dispute and the streamlining of resources and procedures in a way that is appropriate for each tier;
  2. The increase and improvement of assistance for self-represented litigants; and
  3. The integrating of best practices for complex case management including the centralization of services, which includes a legal repository and educational resource for effective case management of complex litigation and improved communications between courts.

The Commission sunset in April 2017.

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