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.
Membership categories and additional duties
Link for further information, including publications from this committee
Access and Fairness Fact Sheet
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.
Appointed by the Chief Justice in May of 2010 to discuss 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. The Forum is charged with identifying issues concerning the working relationship between tribal and state courts and recommending to the Judicial Council ways to address these issues. A Judicial Council member and a Tribal Court Judge co-chair this committee.
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.
The purpose of the Court Facilities Advisory Committee is to provide ongoing oversight of the judicial branch capital construction program for trial and appellate courts throughout the state. The Advisory Committee will oversee the work of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) in its effort to implement the judicial branch’s statewide capital improvement program.
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.
Identifies issues and concerns faced by the courts in matters related to procedure, practice, and management for cases involving marriage, family, or children, and suggests solutions and responses.
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.
Pending a decision by the Judicial Council on whether to restructure the Judicial Service Advisory Committee and to amend California Rules of Court, rule 10.57, a Working Group on Judicial Pay and Benefits will consult with, advise, directly assist, and make recommendations to the Administrative Director of the Courts, and to the Judicial Council at the request of the Administrative Director, on judicial compensation, nonretirement benefits, and retirement benefits.
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 primary purpose of the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee is to advise the Administrative Director of the Courts on the preparation, development, and implementation of the budget for the benefit of all of the trial courts statewide. Responsibilities of the advisory committee include the following:
Membership Roster (April, 2013)
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 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.
Link to more information
Blue Ribbon Commission Members
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.
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.
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
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.
The SB 56 Working Group is responsible for responding to proposed performance measures and implementation plans and modifications to the Judicial Workload Assessment and the Resource Assessment Study Model by providing advice and suggestions to improve and to effectively implement the plans and models. Specifically, the SB 56 Working Group will review and provide advice to the OCR on proposals for instituting performance measures and implementation plans in areas such as:
Members will also advise the AOC on studies and analyses undertaken to update and amend case weights through time studies, focus groups, or other methods.
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.
Following the October 23-24, 2012 Judicial Branch Technology Summit, the Chief Justice authorized the creation of a new task force on judicial branch technology governance and strategy that will report to the Technology Committee. This Technology Planning Task Force will be comprised of Judicial Officers, Court Executive Officers, Court Information Technology Officers, and other stakeholders representing the trial and appellate courts, and the public. The task force is charged with:
The task force is to work collaboratively to define judicial branch technology governance in terms of statewide versus local decision-making, to develop a strategic plan for technology across all court levels that provides a vision and direction for technology within the branch, and to develop recommendations for a stable, long-term funding source for supporting branch technology, as well as a delineation of technology funding sources. More specifically, the task force will: