To provide leadership for advancing the consistent, impartial, independent, and accessible administration of justice, the Judicial Council must be aware of the issues and concerns confronting the judiciary, as well as appropriate solutions and responses. The council carries out this mission primarily through the work of its advisory committees and task forces.
The chair of the council may appoint advisory committees and task forces, comprising judges, court officials, attorneys, and members of the public, to advise the council in studying the condition of court business, improving judicial administration, and performing other council responsibilities. Advisory committees monitor areas of continuing significance to the justice system, whereas task forces handle particular projects or proposals. Both make recommendations to the Judicial Council.
Monitors issues related to access to the judicial system and fairness in the state courts and provides policy direction in these areas. The committee's five subcommittees address issues of racial and ethnic fairness, sexual orientation fairness, gender fairness, and access for persons with disabilities, as well as education and implementation.
Improves appellate court justices' access to and participation in the Judicial Council decision-making process; reviews rules, forms, studies, and recommendations to the council related to appellate court administration; identifies issues of concern to the courts, including legislative issues, that might be addressed by the council or its advisory committees or task forces; and strengthens communication between the council and the appellate courts.
Advises the council on matters related to procedures, forms, standards, practices, and operations of the appellate courts and identifies issues of concern to the appellate courts, including legislative issues.
Regularly reviews case law and statutes affecting jury instructions and makes recommendations to the council for updating, amending, and adding topics to the council's civil jury instructions.
Advises the council on collaborative justice courts (including drug courts, teen courts, domestic violence courts, and other collaborative courts). The committee is developing criteria for identifying these specialty courts, determining promising practices, and looking at funding opportunities.
Strengthens court administrators' access to and participation in the Judicial Council decision-making process; reviews rules, forms, standards, studies, and recommendations related to court administration that are proposed to the council by advisory committees or task forces; identifies issues of concern to the courts, including legislative issues, that might be addressed by the council or its advisory committees or task forces; and improves communication between the council and the trial courts.
Promotes, coordinates, and facilitates the application of technology to the work of the courts. The committee establishes standards to ensure technological compatibility; facilitates court technology projects funded in whole or in part by the state; proposes rules, standards, or legislation to ensure privacy, access, and security; and assists courts in acquiring and developing useful technology systems.
Regularly reviews case law and statutes affecting jury instructions and makes recommendations to the council for updating, amending, and adding topics to the council's criminal jury instructions.
The purpose of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch is to promote transparency, accountability, efficiency, and understanding of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the judicial branch. The advisory committee fosters the best use of the work, information, and recommendations provided by the AOC, and it promotes increased understanding of the AOC's mission, responsibilities, accomplishments, and challenges.
Assists the Judicial Council on probate and mental health issues; advises the council on legislation affecting probate and mental health proceedings; proposes forms, rules of probate procedure, and needed actions on mental health issues; develops proposed uniform statewide probate rules; and revises the Handbook for Conservators.
Works toward improving the administration of justice in the adjudication of traffic and bail-forfeitable offenses; identifies policy issues and recommends rules and model procedures that will make the handling of traffic and bail-forfeitable offenses more consistent statewide.
The Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee advises the Judicial Council on the preparation, development, and implementation of the budget for the trial courts and provides input to the council on policy issues affecting trial court funding. The advisory committee meets concurrent with the budget development cycle, and as needed.
Provides ongoing oversight of the judicial branch program that manages renovations, facilities operations, maintenance, and real estate for trial courts throughout the state. The advisory committee also oversees the work of the Administrative Office of the Courts in its management of court facilities statewide.
Enhances trial court judges' access to and participation in the Judicial Council decision-making process; reviews rules, forms, studies, and recommendations related to court administration that are proposed to the council; identifies issues of concern to the courts, including legislative issues, that might be addressed by the council or its advisory committees or task forces; and improves communication between the council and the trial courts.
The Tribal Court-State Court Forum (Forum) is charged with making recommendations to the council for improving the administration of justice in all proceedings in which the authority to exercise jurisdiction by the state judicial branch and the tribal justice systems overlaps. In addition, the Forum discusses issues of mutual importance to tribal and state justice systems relating to the recognition and enforcement of court orders that cross jurisdictional lines, the determination of jurisdiction for cases that might appear in either court system, and the sharing of services between jurisdictions. A State Court Judge and a Tribal Court Judge co-chair this committee.
The Workload Assessment Advisory Committee (WAAC) provides guidance to the Judicial Council on performance measures and modifications to the Judicial Workload Assessment and the Resource Allocation Study Model.
The Appellate Indigent Defense Oversight Advisory Committee (AIDOAC) provides the Chief Justice and administrative presiding justices with policy recommendations related to the Court-Appointed Counsel (CAC) program; audits court-appointed counsel claims; and provides ongoing review of compensation guidelines. AIDOAC was appointed as a special committee of the Chief Justice in late 1990. Its membership includes one appellate court justice from each of the six appellate districts, two appellate project directors, a civil appellate practitioner, and a criminal appellate practitioner. Advisory members also may be appointed by the Chief Justice.
Provides leadership and recommendations to improve the ability of California's state and local agencies, and the courts to help children grow up in safe, nurturing, and permanent homes through the application of reasonable efforts to prevent removal and achieve permanency; increased collaboration among courts and their partnering agencies; court reform to ensure timely hearings and fair treatment; and prioritization of children and families in the child welfare system in the allocation and administration of resources and funding.
Blue Ribbon Commission Members
The duties of the Court-Ordered Debt Task Force are outlined in Penal Code section 1463.02. Its objectives are to evaluate various aspects of the criminal and traffic-related court-ordered fees, fines, forfeitures, penalties, and assessments imposed by statute and to make recommendations to simplify, consolidate, and prioritize the order in which these court-ordered debts are satisfied. The statute also requires the collection of data concerning the revenue and expenditures associated with these fees.
Administers the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Program and Equal Access Fund. Legislation enacted in 1999 authorizes the distribution of the Equal Access Fund to legal service providers through a process coordinated by the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission and overseen by the Judicial Council. The Chief Justice of California and the State Bar Board of Governors appoint individuals to sit on the commission for three-year terms beginning on the first day of the State Bar's annual meeting, held in the fall of each year.
The Judicial Council’s Mental Health Issues Implementation Task Force advises the council on implementation of the key recommendations issued by the Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues (July 2007-June 2011). The Mental Health Issues Implementation Task Force is charged with identifying the recommendations under Judicial Council purview, and with developing a plan for judicial branch and interbranch implementation activities. Implementation of the task force recommendations is designed to improve court, criminal justice and mental health services outcomes for adults and juvenile offenders with mental illness, ensure fair and expeditious administration of justice, and promote improved access to treatment for litigants in the justice system.
Determines the best ways to assist the growing number of Californians who need legal services but cannot afford an attorney. The task force coordinates the statewide response of the bench and bar to the needs of self-represented, or pro per, parties and helps share information about model pro per programs; implements a statewide action plan for serving self-represented litigants; develops resources for services for self-represented litigants, particularly activities in the statewide action plan that require significant funding; and makes recommendations to the Judicial Council, the State Bar, and other appropriate institutions about additional measures that should be considered to improve court services for self-represented parties.
The Task Force on Trial Court Fiscal Accountability will focus on implementing specified recommendations of the Trial Court Funding Workgroup and Trial Court Budget Working Group Funding Methodology Subcommittee as directed by the Judicial Council on April 26, 2013. The recommendations of these two bodies were designed to bring greater equity to California trial court funding and help ensure the delivery of quality justice, and equal access to justice statewide.
Task Force Roster
Task Force Charge
Charged for one year to make recommendations on the governance, strategy, and financial support for judicial branch technology. charged for one year to make recommendations on the governance, strategy, and financial support for judicial branch technology.
The Commission for Impartial Courts was formed in September 2007. In December 2009, the Commission presented its final report to the Judicial Council of actions it should take in order to safeguard the quality, impartiality, and accountability of the California judiciary for the benefit of all its citizens.
Makes recommendations to the Judicial Council on improving the administration of justice in domestic violence cases in the California trial courts.
Final Report of The Domestic Violence Practice And Procedure Task Force