On behalf of the Continuing Judicial Education Commission, we are pleased to present the long-range strategic plan for education for North Dakota Judiciary. Designed as a comprehensive vision for the future of judicial education, this plan was initially drafted by the various education committees following discussions affecting the state courts in North Dakota. The draft plan was then refined into this final version.
The plan identifies the significant issues facing North Dakota's court system and establishes primary goals and strategies for addressing those issues. The long-range issue areas addressed in the plan include:
*Enhancing the Competency and Professionalism of Judicial System Personnel
*Ensuring Equal Access to Judicial Services
*Enhancing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Court and Case Management
*Promoting Public Confidence in the Judiciary
This plan is a living document that will be reviewed and revised by the Commission, with input from its education committees, on a regular basis. We look forward to working with the North Dakota Supreme Court and Judicial System personnel statewide in continuing to refine and improve the plan to ensure the effective and efficient administration of justice for the people of North Dakota.
Hon. Donald Jorgensen, Chair
Continuing Judicial Education Commission
Long-Range Issue 1: Enhancing the Competency and Professionalism of Judicial System Personnel
Issue Description: The primary asset of the justice system is its people. Judicial System personnel in North Dakota's courts are dedicated public servants who provide a high level of public service to the people of North Dakota. The people who work in the courts face an ever-changing environment that is challenging the way justice services have historically been provided. Judicial System personnel deserve to be treated as professionals and must be provided the opportunity to continue to learn and to develop their skills. To meet the changing needs of the people they serve, Judicial System personnel need education programs that equip them to adapt to change, to regularly update substantive knowledge, and to develop management skills needed to improve court operations. Comprehensive education, training, and professional development programs will assist Judicial System personnel to provide the highest quality of justice services to the public.
Goal 1.1 To develop a comprehensive curriculum guide for educational programs.
Strategies: 1.1.1 Identify the full range of education and training needs of Judicial System personnel.
1.1.2 Identify the core competency areas to be included in a comprehensive basic Judicial System education curriculum, including, but not limited to, personal development, ethics, fairness and diversity, case law and legislative updates, ADR and procedures. It also includes other coordinated programs that emphasize access to the courts and the improvement of court services.
1.1.3 Implement education for all Judicial System personnel.
1.1.4 Develop instructional and participant materials that enhance the learners' abilities to do the day-to-day work of the courts in each core competency area of the curriculum.
1.1.5 Develop specialized training programs as needed to address changing education needs.
1.1.6 Develop programs that provide court personnel with a broad overview of the purpose and operation of the court system.
1.1.7 Develop mentor and job shadowing programs for new judges and employees.
Goal 1.2 To maximize the use of resources by using coordinated and integrated programs that provide education and training opportunities among diverse groups of Judicial System employees.
Strategies: 1.2.1 Identify appropriate education topics.
1.2.2 Develop faculty teams of Judicial System personnel that reflect the diversity of staff and levels of all staff who would attend the training programs.
1.2.3 Coordinate the provision of educational programs with court and law-related professional associations to maximize the use of resources.
Goal 1.3 To promote professional development of all Judicial System personnel.
Strategies: 1.3.1 Identify the basic levels of skill and proficiency needed for all Judicial System personnel.
1.3.2 Encourage regular district meetings among all appropriate personnel (to discuss policies, procedures and administrative issues related to court operations).
1.3.3 Broaden the knowledge base of Judicial System personnel through attendance at in-state and out-of-state education programs per administrative rule.
Goal 1.4 To promote civility and professionalism as standard behavior for all Judicial System personnel.
Strategies: 1.4.1 Address civility and professionalism in Judicial System programs on a regular basis.
Goal 1.5 To use alternative techniques for delivery of educational services to reach the broadest possible audience for judicial education programs.
Strategies: 1.5.1 Increase the use of remote site technology for educational programs including live audio/video transmission through video conferencing and other available technology.
1.5.2 Increase the use of video and audio tape library, CD-ROM development, and Internet publishing for wide dissemination of judicial education program materials.
1.5.3 Develop "train-the-trainer" programs to increase delivery of educational programs in the courts.
1.5.4 Enhance presentation and teaching skills of judicial personnel who serve as faculty for education programs.
1.5.5 Regularly update benchbooks, procedures manuals and other educational publications.
Long-Range Issue 2: Ensuring Equal Access to Judicial Services
Issue Description: One of the paramount obligations of an independent judiciary is to provide justice to all by ensuring access to judicial services. Access not only means physical access to courthouses and courtrooms, but also means ensuring that court users understand and effectively participate in judicial services. The courts are experiencing significant changes in the demographics of the people they serve, including the aging of the population, single parent families, differences in socio-economic levels, and increasingly diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This diversity also challenges the courts to ensure fairness in treatment of all persons who come before the courts. By assuring fair and accessible judicial services to all, the courts maintain the rule of law during time of great change.
Goal 2.1 To treat all persons fairly in the courts regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, education level, sexual orientation, or age.
Strategies 2.1.1 Identify and eliminate bias or perceived bias.
2.1.2 Develop and incorporate fairness and sensitivity training into Judicial Department courses on a regular basis.
Goal 2.2 To address the needs of unrepresented persons who seek judicial services.
Strategies: 2.2.1 Develop training programs to help court staff provide assistance to unrepresented persons.
Goal 2.3. To provide persons reasonable accommodations to achieve access to courthouses, courtrooms, and judicial services.
Strategies: 2.3.1 Identify ADA requirements and develop a training program regarding access to courthouses, courtrooms and other court-related program facilities.
Long-Range Issue 3: Enhancing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Court and Case Management
Issue Description: The foundation of the court system rests on the notion of fairness and justice in resolving disputes. To provide fair and just dispute resolution services, the courts must make the most efficient use of resources, including technology, while ensuring that justice continues to be served for all who come before the courts. With increasing demands for finite resources, the courts are continually challenged to find ways to provide effective and efficient judicial services to the public.
Goal 3.1 To integrate technology into court operations.
Strategies: 3.1.1 Educate Judicial System personnel regarding the use of technology.
Goal 3.2 To provide education concerning comprehensive and coordinated judicial services for families and children.
Strategies: 3.2.1 Provide educational programs to judges and juvenile court personnel regarding effective and efficient administration and operation of courts serving families and children.
3.2.2 Increase coordinated educational programming in family and juvenile law with other agencies and resource providers.
3.2.3 Enhance educational opportunities to develop the best practices for handling family and juvenile cases, including, but not limited to, family violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, learning disabilities, child development, abuse, neglect and delinquency.
Goal 3.3 To develop awareness of the full range of services for juveniles.
Strategies: 3.3.1 Increase awareness of existing facilities for placement or detention of juvenile offenders.
3.3.2 Increase awareness of services and alternatives to placement and detention of juveniles.
Goal 3.4 To provide education concerning the need for adequate court security.
Strategies: 3.4.1 Conduct security training for court personnel and others on a routine basis.
Long-Range Issue 4: Promoting Public Confidence in of the Judiciary
Issue Description: The Judiciary is a separate and co-equal branch of government. To
fulfill its constitutional mandate, the Judicial system depends upon the trust and confidence placed in it by the people and the resources made available to it by the other branches of government. The trust of the people is earned in two ways: 1) through positive personal experiences with the courts, and 2) through education about the role and purpose of the courts. Effectively reporting the courts' work and advocating for court needs establishes a strong working relationship between the Judiciary and the other branches of government. As a separate branch, the Judiciary must establish its public accountability, and by doing so will build public support for the Judicial system.
Goal 4.1 To make effective and efficient customer service as a priority for court personnel.
Strategies: 4.1.1 Develop a comprehensive customer service training program that emphasizes civility and professionalism for all Judicial System personnel.
4.1.2 Encourage the use of customer service surveys and other feedback mechanisms by local courts in assessing their own performance.
Goal 4.2 To effectively communicate the purpose and role of the courts to the public and other branches of government.
Strategies: 4.2.1 Encourage court involvement in public educational programs and community outreach activities to promote public understanding of the role and operations of the court system.
4.2.2 Encourage the organization and development of a speakers bureau.
4.2.3 Educate Judicial System personnel on ways to develop a positive relationship with the media to ensure judicial issues are fairly and widely covered.
Goal 4.3 To inform Judicial System personnel about the trends that will affect court operations.
Strategies: 4.3.1 Establish strategic planning as a basic method of operation for the Continuing Judicial Education Commission and education committees.
4.3.2 Inform and educate Judicial System personnel of trends on priority issues.
4.3.3 Schedule strategic planning sessions to increase the degree of joint participation in the planning of statewide education.
Goal 4.4 The secure adequate resources to support the operations of the courts and to exercise independent authority for managing personnel and resources.
Strategies: 4.4.1 Enhance the Judicial Branch budget development, management and advocacy skills to ensure effective budget requests are prepared.
4.4.2 Offer comprehensive court management educational programs that integrate all levels of court personnel in team skills development including budgeting and accounting practices, human resource management, records management, time management, priority setting, technology planning and implementation, case and workflow management, jury management, courtroom management, settlement, and leadership.
4.4.3 Educate Judicial System personnel about techniques for collaboration with local resource providers and others to increase resources available to augment local court operations.