Appendix for: Central Research Staff in the Michigan Court of Appeals
Appendix B to Appellate Courts: Staff and Process in the Crisis of Volume (West Publishing Co., 1974)
12 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2013
American appellate courts in the early 1970’s experienced an unprecedented increase in appeals. In response, the National Center for State Courts initiated a pilot project to assist appellate courts process their rising caseloads more efficiently. The Research Director of the Michigan Court of Appeals served as a project consultant, and his report on that court’s innovative research staff was an initial model for the project.
A condensed version of the report was later published in the National Center’s book, Appellate Courts: Staff and Process in the Crisis of Volume (West Publishing Co., 1974) (Appendix B). Part One of the report describes the functions served by prehearing research and case screening as employed by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Part Two describes the operation of the court’s prehearing research staff, the costs involved, and the results achieved.
In sum, the Michigan experience is that with a central staff to prepare prehearing reports on all appeals, and more frequent use of abbreviated opinions, the court was able to absorb a 33% greater caseload with no increase in judges, while improving the process of hearing and deciding appeals.
Keywords: appellate courts, central staff
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