In April, the Judicial Improvement Program will begin collecting feedback on judge performance using electronic surveys.
The program, which is governed by Administrative Rule 48, has been in effect since 2003. All judicial officers are required to participate in the program during their first two years and periodically after that.
The survey process has been previously been done in a paper format. In January, the Supreme Court amended AR 48 to allow surveys to be conducted electronically. The court system will be launching surveys for the first two participants using the new electronic format beginning April 5.
The Court System uses the Bureau of Governmental Affairs, based at the University of North Dakota, to run the program. In the past, they conducted the surveys for all eligible judicial officers over a set three month period. Under the new process, they will be conducting surveys for only two to three judicial officers at a time and shortening the response period to two weeks.
The program gathers feedback on specific areas of judicial performance through surveys sent to attorneys and court staff. The surveys will be sent to court staff from the court system’s internal email and to attorneys using the SBAND listserv. The switch to electronic surveys is intended to increase the attorney response rate while making the administration of the surveys more efficient. The amended rule is flexible enough that the court system can default back to the paper survey process if necessary.
All survey responses are confidential and results are only disclosed to the judicial officer and a reviewer chosen by the judicial officer. Judicial officers will be given advance notice as their survey time approaches and will be asked to provide the name and contact information for the person they have chosen as their reviewer.