Court systems getting help
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Aug 17, 2001
Conference of State Court Administrators
Two national associations for state courts are drafting standards to help
the more than 16,000 state trial courts evaluate and upgrade their case
management systems, improve information sharing and streamline operations.
For the past three years, the Conference of State Court Administrators
(COSCA) and the National Association for Court Management (NACM) have been
jointly developing the information technology and data interchange standards
for case management systems. Those systems handle civil, criminal, domestic
relations, juvenile, appellate, probate and traffic cases.
So far, the initiative — called the Consortium for National Case Management
Automation Functional Standards Project — has produced functional standards
for civil cases, said James Pritchett, director of technology services for
the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The center is providing staff
support to the organizations working on the project.
By year's end, Pritchett said he expected that standards for criminal,
domestic relations and juvenile cases would be approved, and next year,
standards for any remaining types of cases would be endorsed.
Pritchett said the standards would provide an incentive for technology
vendors to develop systems with similar communication, integration and e-filing
functions. That way, local, state and federal courts could exchange information.
He said vendors don't want to invest millions of dollars on a system that
would be used by only one entity.
He said state trial courts could share information on things like protection
orders for people who are moving from one jurisdiction to another. Many
courts, he said, have mainframe-based information systems that can't interface
with systems in their own jurisdiction, let alone with another jurisdiction's
National standards also would help courts to re-examine their business
processes as a template to develop new case-management systems, he said.
Pritchett said such standards aren't mandatory, but the consortium would
encourage state associations to adopt them.
COSCA, composed of state court administrators, advocates improvement
of state court systems. NACM consists of 2,500 members, including court
administrators, clerks of court, presiding judges and other court officials.
NCSC is a non-profit group representing the nation's state trial courts.