Judicial Management Council
For more than six decades, the judicial branch has benefitted from the guidance of its judicial management councils (JMCs), which are described as high-level management consultants to the supreme court. Established in November 2012, the current JMC—which is the branch’s fifth—was conceived as a “forward-looking advisory body to deftly assist the chief justice and the supreme court in proactively identifying trends, potential crisis situations, and means to address them.” The JMC’s first chair, then Chief Justice Ricky Polston, called the council the “headlights of the branch, shining a high beam toward the future.”
The JMC has 15 voting members: the chief justice and another justice, representatives from each level of court, and public members; the state courts administrator is a nonvoting member. In addition, on a temporary, as-needed basis, the council invites others to participate as nonvoting members. Meeting at least quarterly, the JMC has five areas of responsibility: to identify potential crisis situations affecting the branch and develop strategies for addressing them; to identify and evaluate information that will assist in improving the performance and effectiveness of the branch; to develop and monitor progress related to the branch’s long-range planning endeavors; to review the charges of the various court and Florida Bar commissions and commissions, recommending consolidation or revision, and propose a method for coordinating the work of these bodies; and to address issues that the court brings to the council. (See Rule 2.225, Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.)
The JMC was designed to function as a nimble body that can respond swiftly and dynamically to administrative issues the branch is facing. This agility is achieved through the creation of workgroups, each of which is charged with specific tasks and is sunsetted when its tasks are completed. Initially, the chief justice created three workgroups: Performance; Education and Outreach; and Access to Justice. The Performance Workgroup, after reviewing filing and disposition trends by case type and level of work, made recommendations to the court about how to meet future branch needs for uniform and consistent data reporting and analysis in some crucial performance areas. The Education and Outreach Workgroup—which addressed issues relating to effective internal and external communication, public trust and confidence, and the use of clear, unified messages within and outside the judicial branch—updated the branch-wide communication plan; Delivering Our Message: Court Communication Plan for the Judicial Branch of Florida, January 2016 was approved by the supreme court, and implementation began in January 2016. The Access to Justice Workgroup continues to focus on the development of interactive, web-based, guided interviews to facilitate self-represented litigants’ access to the courts.
Then in 2014 – 15, the chief justice established the Long-Range Strategic Planning Workgroup to refresh the branch’s long-range plan; the Long-Range Strategic Plan for the Florida Judicial Branch 2016 – 2021 was approved by the supreme court, and implementation began in January 2016. Later that year, two new workgroups were appointed: the Trial Court Security Workgroup and the Guardianship Workgroup.
For more information about the branch’s management councils, please see the Short History of Florida State Courts System Processes, Programs, and Initiatives.