Justice Efficiencies and
Access to the Justice System
4. Local Control: All case management is local.
Effective management of cases is the product of local commitment to good practice. Legislation can enable and support case management but the local bench and Bar will manage well or badly according to their needs and views. And if local control were not inescapable it would still be desirable. It is crucial to effectiveness because only local control can respond to local pressures, issues and personalities. Implemented cooperatively, it brings sectors together, increases communication, understanding and respect for their various roles and their interdependence, and provides a sense of ownership in new initiatives.
The Centre of Criminology report found high variance in case processing times throughout the jurisdictions, demonstrating the need for local or regional solutions that are in line with accepted guiding principles.
But local control can stifle innovation. If local control is to be effective it is vital we strengthen our capacity to share best practices and to provide the data and analysis needed to assess the effectiveness of local practice and alleged “best practices” in particular.
We have examined case management programs based on rules of court, legislation and practice notes. Each has strengths and weaknesses and one is not inherently better than the other. Each location must adopt an approach that is acceptable to local justice system participants.
Local case management or court users committees enhance understanding of issues and pressure points and encourage shared initiatives to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Joint working groups on particular issues of local importance improve communications, build relationships across sectors and foster a sense of ownership and responsibility within the system.
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