Trial Court Budget Basics

Budgeting within the judicial branch is complex, and the trial courts are integral to the process.  Learn more.

The Branch Budget Process

The judicial branch budget is a very small part of the overall budget for California state government. Just over one penny of every general fund dollar goes to the courts. For each fiscal year, which begins July 1, the budget process begins in the fall of the previous calendar year.

Begins with the Governor

The State Constitution requires the Governor to submit a balanced budget to the Legislature on January 10 of each year. Click for a summary of the Governor's budget information.

Legislature and Governor finalize the budget

The Governor's budget is revised in May. The Constitution requires the Legislature to adopt a balanced budget by June 15. The Governor then has 12 working days to sign the budget bill. The Governor also has the authority to reduce or eliminate any item in the budget bill.

Judicial branch budget review process

Once the Legislature has passed and the Governor has signed a state budget, the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee reviews the trial courts' portion of the budget and prepares recommendations to the Judicial Council on allocations among the 58 trial courts for the coming fiscal year. An appellate advisory group follows a similar process in reviewing the budgets for the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal.

Judicial Council Review

Recommendations for the coming fiscal year and budget proposals for future fiscal years go before the Judicial Council in business meetings in July and August open to the public. The council makes allocations and sets priorities for the branch.


Budgets: Overview of Fund Types Supporting the Judicial Branch
Sixteen different funding sources come into the Judicial Branch, not including funds generated locally. This audio presentation by the Finance Office to the Judicial Council provides an overview these funding sources and general dollar amounts for each.

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