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(Following are excerpts from the address given on Saturday by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States, at the Law School's Sesquicentennial Banquet.)
...The orderly and expeditious processing of litigation is a right which each of us should be able to ask of our judicial system, no matter what our station in life or how meager to nonexistent our resources may be. In the name of human dignity we can ask no less, yet we must admit that we are failing far short of our goal.
In our federal system the concept of an administrative officer to relieve the courts of essential extrajudicial functions is less than thirty years old. Only about half of our state supreme courts and less than half of our trial courts have relieved the judges of these administrative burdens for which they are neither trained no have the time. We are far behind other professions in recognizing the need for trained, professional administrators to assist us in discharging our tasks.
Just as we have been slow to recognize the need for administrators in our courts, we have paid little attention to the practical problems of the administration of justice. Our clerks of court still operate much as they have throughout our history. Little effort has been made to study the clerk's offices not only with a view to improved administration but so study whether this or some other system is best geared to serve the needs of the bench and bar and thus assure better administration of justice.
In our age, when industry and other professions are availing themselves of modern technological developments as tools to assist them, we have as yet taken little advantage of data processing and have accomplished little by way of determining where these technological developments could help the courts and the bar generally from the standpoint of administration. I do not want to suggest or leave the impression that I think any of these can or ever should be a substitute for the judging process, but I am satisfied that our profession can, if it will but examine its potential, obtain much useful help from data processing and similar contemporary advances.
The problems of administration are many and formidable. They range from management and organizational questions involved in the proper utilization of appropriations, personnel, space and statistics to such serious and intricate questions as jurisdiction, judicial selection and disability, jury selection and management, calendar control, rule making and geographical organization of the courts. Apart from these varied problems, yet part of each of them, is the planning function of court administration. Such administration involves meeting not only the problems of the hour but anticipating the needs of the future and reassuring that our system of justice is geared to cope with the demands and responsibilities of the future.
Today, our courts face the heaviest caseloads in our history. Backlogs continue to mount and the time space between the commencement of action and the termination of the case continues to rise. For the ninth consecutive year the number of appeals on the dockets of our courts of appeals in the federal system has increased. Ten per cent more cases were filed in these courts in fiscal 1967 than in 1966. Since 1960 the number of appeals in these courts has more than double. Cases in the federal district courts are increasing every year. Bankruptcy cases have now gone over the 200,000 level whereas only twenty years ago they numbered about 18,000 annually.
The median time interval form issue to trial in civil cases in our district courts increased to twelve months last year as compared with eleven month in the previous year. As the practicing bar so well knows, the picture in many of our state and local courts is far more serious. I suggest to you that the challenge which this critical situation poses for us is one which we must meet promptly, courageously and with the kind of initiative and imagination that has often characterized our national endeavors in other fields.
I have often said, and I repeat tonight, my conviciton that the answer does not lie in creating additional judge power. To be sure, as our population continues to grow and the total litigation increases substantially, new judges will be needed. It has been our experience in the federal system, howver, that merely adding more judges does not serve to eliminate or even seriously diminish backlogs which have been accumulating over a period of years...
...I do not minimize the importance or the necessary of imaginative solutions to our growing court con-
MORE SPEECHES FROM THE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WILL BE FOUND IN MONDAY'S SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT gestion, but I do express my alarm at our failure to grasp and grapple with basic administrative problems in our system of justice. One able and and hard-working federal judge was recently moved to say that unless we meet and master these problems, our system of justice, as we know it, will disappear.
The men and women of the legal profession, if they are to discharge their responsibilities to their clients, to the courts and to society, must be educated in the problems of administration of justice as they exist in our society. There are, as I have said, studies to be made, research to be conducted and solutions to be found. Deficiencies in our legal system, hidden from sight, are not likely to be remedied. If they are exposed, however, solutions are likely to be found.
It is our hope that in the near future we will have a Federal Judicial Center to assist us in meeting the problems of administration. In proposing to the Congress the creation of the Center, the Judicial Conference of the United States stated the objective of the Center to be the dispensation of justice with maximum effectiveness and minimum waste by means of a thorough scientific study of judicial administration and through programs of continuing education for judges and the training of court personnel. This will be a great step forward. The Center will, we hope, serve both to assist in seeking solutions to problems of administration and also in generating a better understanding of the necessity of such solutions.
We cannot expect the Federal Judicial Center, or any other government instrumentality, to be equipped to do the task alone. This is why it has always been proposed that the Center must have the authority to utilize the services or facilities of any private organization or group, as well as other governmental instrumentalities. The Center can give guidance: it can point the way, but we must still relay on the tremendous research potential of our universities and private foundations for the broad studies which will have to be made.
It is to our law schools especially that we must turn for the research and study so essential to meeting problems o judicial administration.
Some centers of study already exist for this purpose but we have made only a beginning. Our efforts must be on a much larger scale, with massive support on the part of the entire profession, if we are to meet the challenge.
Today there are few, if any, places a man can go to seek the training and information he needs to deal effectively with the practical problems of administration of justice. This is an area which the legal institutions of our country have too long overlooked and in which there exist a challenge and an opportunity to make a significant, worthwhile contribution, both by inaugurating programs -- possibly in conjunction with other areas of study--for potential administrators and by conducting studies and research that go beyond the fields of legal scholarship now commonly pursued. Such studies and research are desperately needed to assist court administration at every governmental level.
The bar as well as the bench also bears a heavy responsibility for the lack of appreciation of the problems of administration of justice. This is apparent in our day-to-day observations. In two of our large metropolitan federal district courts, for example, reduced trial schedules have been in effect for virtually a full four-month period each year. When the courts attempted to carry on full schedules, serious objections were raised by members of the bar and the courts obligingly capitulated. Full co-operation by members of the bar, as officers of the court, is a prerequisite to the orderly processing of trial calendars....
...In the federal system priority is given, as of course it must be, to calendaring criminal cases for trial. It is thus the clients, the parties in civil litigation, who suffer most directly from the consequences of delay. In the last five years the median time
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