How does a justice institute improve trial procedures in the United States? The Institute for Justice Reform and Innovation (IJRI) has been in place for a decade, collecting and organizing resources on civil and criminal justice. In addition, the IJRI hosts several events and online resources that can be used to enhance court procedures. These events often highlight important advances in trial procedures and offer useful tools and resources to make the process easier and more effective for both parties.
Family Justice Initiative
The Massachusetts Judiciary has worked closely with the National Center for State Courts to implement the Family Justice Initiative Pathways in the Bristol and Plymouth Probate and Family Court divisions. These pathways are intended to serve as a guide for statewide implementation. These new procedures aim to improve trial procedures in family law cases. They also address the behavioral aspects of “high conflict” parties. Finally, Florida justice institute highlights how the family court can better serve people needing family justice services.
The FJC approach seeks to reduce the burden on victims of domestic and gender-based violence and sexual assault by co-locating necessary services in one location. In addition, the center will offer victims and their families access to a range of services and will be accessible to people with disabilities. Ultimately, the program will improve the prosecution of offenders and ensure that victims can receive the assistance they need. In the process, the Family justice initiative aims to reduce the need for victim restitution and increase the quality of justice.
Projects that streamline case filing and management processes
One project aimed to improve case management and filing practices is the Filing Fairness Project. This multijurisdictional effort seeks to simplify the case filing process and improve access to justice. Unlike tax filing, mortgage applications, and benefits administration, court filing has lagged behind the institutional history and technological advancement. As a result, individual jurisdictions have failed to develop effective solutions, and the fragmentation of the legal system makes implementation prohibitively expensive. But with the help of a new platform, case filing processes can be simplified.
Developing a data dictionary and plain language interview systems enables the development of an intelligent forms system. These systems use the information the user provides to generate and display the appropriate form. They can also translate the forms to local languages to reduce the burden of filing. Additionally, the system employs smart form XML tagging to deliver relevant information in forms. Regardless of the jurisdiction, these initiatives are critical for delivering justice to all.
Projects that promote procedural fairness
In addition to identifying the characteristics and factors that influence procedural fairness, the project identifies key challenges related to just decision-making. These include broader structural inequalities, plural conceptions of procedural justice, and promoting self-reflexivity. The resulting research will be useful for advancing the field of procedural justice and its implementation.
The Center for Court Innovation seeks out courts to participate in a research project for the assessment. The project will focus on criminal courts and examine the current state of procedural justice and its core elements. Afterward, the researchers will develop communication strategies and provide suggestions to improve the practices of each court. The project will include more than two dozen court systems. In addition, the Center for Court Innovation is also be evaluating the current level of procedural fairness in courthouses.