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Subject :Jurisprudence

Title :An Emerging Trend In Judiciary: Court Management

Author :Mr. Aniket Pandey

Aniket Pandey*


The introduction of management practices in the judiciary has been a topic of discussion for quite some time now.
During this period, many ideas have been mooted to tackle the enormous backlog of pending cases. While some of
these ideas were implemented, others did not cross the stage of discussion and debate. As time has changed so
does the role of Judiciary in imparting justice, eventually role of judiciary has gone multi-disciplinary as now its time
to manage courts in a way which consequently results in efciency and increased potential to impart justice.

Judges as managers

A judge is the person in charge of a Court. Barring any unforeseen event, the litigation before a judge has to be
controlled by him. What is important in this regard is time management. It is for the judge to decide, for example, how
many cases should be scheduled for hearing on any given day; how much time has to be granted for completing the
procedural formalities such as completion of pleadings; how many adjournments if any, should be granted and how
much time has to be allotted for the hearing of a case. Systematic and proper management of time in respect of each
case will go a long way in reducing the laws delays. A judge must also determine the general complexity of a case so
that the progress of a case can be effectively managed. For example, Rule 1800 of the California Rules of Court
denes a complex case.

Subdivision (a) refers toan action as being complex if it:

requires exceptional judicial management to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court or the
litigants and to expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision making by the
court, the parties and the counsel.

Subdivision (b) then lists out a set of factors which would require to be taken into account for determining if a
case is complex or not. A list of cases provisionally designated as complex cases is the subject matter of

(c) Cases such as environmental or toxic tort claims and those generally involving many parties are treated
as complex unless the judge determines otherwise. Depending upon the complexity of a case, the judge can
decide what tasks to delegate to a subordinate judicial ofcer, including exploring the possibility of
alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Time and effort have to be invested in case management so that
the progress of litigation is effectively monitored. Apart from anything else, the investment enables a judge
(rather than the lawyer or litigant) to take control of the case. A judge can, thereby, optimally utilize his time
for performing core judicial functions for effective dispute resolution, rather than spend it on peripheral
issues, which can be dealt with by others.

In this context, it bears mention that as a management exercise, an experiment with a judges clerk has been initiated
in the Delhi High Court. A judges clerk is expected to assist a judge in effectively managing his administrative and
judicial duties. He is either a fresh law graduate (enthusiasm) or a freshly recruited judicial ofcer (experience). The
role of a judges clerk in case management has been identied and it includes preparing a brief of the cases for the
judge, highlighting the issues involved in a case and generally assisting a judge in his research for thepurposes of
writing a judgment.

For any management system to succeed and this equally applies to Court management, it is essential to identify the
stakeholders. This is not particularly difcult so far as the judicial system is concerned. There are only four players in
any judicial system. They are (not necessarily in order of importance):
Each of these stakeholders has specic role to play for ensuring the success of case management and Court
administration. Court Registry as a participant Court management cannot succeed without the unstinted support of
the Court staff and its Registry. They are the backbone of the system and the administrative burden really falls on
them. All the papers pertaining to a case from the initial stage of ling a case to the supply of a certied copy of the
judgments passes through their hands. They are responsible not only for all the documentation but also giving effect
to miscellaneous orders passed by the Court. The efciency of a Court depends upon them, much more than anyone
would care to admit.

While there may be complaints of manpower shortage in so far as judges are concerned, no one has yet complained
about a shortage of Court staff. Is it not possible to utilize their expertise, if not their sheer numbers, to improve the
working of the Court administration? Other procedural tasks, which are not strictly administrative, but are related to
judicial functions, can be delegated to the Court staff by investing them with limited judicial functions. Subordinate
judicial ofcers can perform miscellaneous tasks, including identication of issues, attempting to limit disputes
arising out of the pleadings and actively participating in alternative dispute resolution systems. If nothing else, this
makes them participative functionaries in the overall process of dispensing quick justice, and recognizes their status
as one of the stakeholders in the judicial system

Court Management

Efciency is to be achieved on the administrative side also. Delay on the administrative side adds to the arrears. Most
of the Ofcers think that the responsibility is only in respect of judicial work and they do not take interest in the
administration. Some of the Ofcers who are excellent in judicial work hardly take interest on the administrative side.
As you cannot afford a shallow performance in the judicial work, ofcers cannot avoid administrative responsibility.

Judges must watch copyist establishments

a. Judges must ensure that Copy Applications are complied with then and there. And see that there is no
accumulation/pendency of Copy Applications. Ofcer must periodically verify A & B Registers. They should
also see that there is no delay in compliance of Copy Applications.

b. When additional stamp papers are called for is not deposited, after giving time Copy Application is struck
off. One year time is prescribed for disposal of struck off Copy Applications.

c. In Magistrate Courts number of cases is pending for non supply of Sec.207 Cr.P.C. copies. Judges must
see that there is no delay in this aspect.

d. Norms for Copyist is 84,000 words per month. Always insist that Copyist do at least 1,25,000 1,50,000
words per month.

They should also keep an eye over the work done by copyists.

Record section

As District Judges, you must take all steps for destruction of records. Ensure that periodical consignments are to be
sent to the Central Record. They must periodically check prompt sending of consignment from the Courts in your Unit.
Every Summer Vacations, Christmas and Dashehra

To be fully utilized for destruction of records in the Central Record. Chief Judicial Magistrates must ensure that
Magistrates in your Unit are taking steps for destruction of records by publication and thereby taking steps for
disposal. District Judges/Chief Judicial Magistrates must ensure that the records are destroyed periodically. This is
to be one of the important area of concentration.

Need for training the staff

Not only that the Judges are to be trained, there is need for training the staff members also. There is no systematic
training for the staff members in the Subordinate Judiciary. Presently, we do not have systematic training for staff
members. For the system to be efcient, systematic training of staff members is very much essential. As District
Judges can organize such trainings within the Districts using the services of Judicial Ofcers and Head Ministerial
Ofcers, retired staff etc. By imparting in-service training and continuous learning, the staff members are motivated
and consequently take them along in the judicial reform we all foresee.

Efcient in house management and cleanliness

Cleanliness in and around the Court premises and maintain the Court premises neatly.

See that the Court men meant for cleaning the? Court are rst used for Court purpose and then only could
be used for residence of the Ofcer.

Take personal interest in ensuring cleanliness? and maintaining at least a small garden.


There has to be thrift in usage of? electricity.

Where there is huge billing of electricity, all? possible steps are to be taken to conserve the electricity and to
reduce the high billing.

All that is required is to change the mindsets, each and every one of the judicial ofcer to make a beginning by making
everyone at all level responsible for implementation.


1. COURT MANAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATIVE SKILS, Justice R.Banumathi. Judge., High Court, Madras

2. CASE MANAGEMENT AND COURT ADMINISTRATION Justice Madan B. Lokur Judge, Delhi High Court



* Mr. Aniket Pandey is pursuing BBA.LLB (Corporate Laws) from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies,

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