In various posts, I have covered the important functions of court leaders. Here I will deal with court leader functions related to caseflow management and suggest that court leaders can strive to be masters and maestros of caseflow management.  To do that, I will link the concepts of court leader functions, court leader roles, and caseflow management practices.

Court administrators’ duties range from fairly limited to very extensive with a substantial degree of both responsibility and independence.[1]

Court leaders play a vital part in ensuring the court operates smoothly.  Leaders are often responsible for such operational area as the budget, facility, technology, performance measurement and strategic planning, and communication and public relations.  Increasingly leaders are involved with large projects and interacting with other agencies. All leader functions provide the foundation for effective caseflow management in one way or another.[2]

Apart from essential job functions and purposes, and according to the NACM Core® Competency on Leadership, there are various roles that court leaders play during the course of their job duties.  The roles include: communicator, strategist, motivator, diagnostician, collaborator, statesman, visionary, and innovator. These roles also provide support for caseflow management practices.[3]

For further description of these roles, see my posts on this site dated May 19, 2020 and July 13, 2020 and the NACM Core® on Leadership at www.nacmcore.org.

Caseflow management concerns the scheduling of cases, the deployment of judicial resources, and the development of processes and procedures for processing cases through a court until the point of disposition.”[4]

Caseflow management includes the continuum of processes and resources necessary to move a case from filing to disposition.”[5]

Caseflow best practices include such things as leadership and vision, protocols for case handling, and measurement of outcomes. Caseflow management and supporting processes provide an important assignment for court leaders.[6] 

The chief judge and court manager should focus on caseflow management … because it is the very foundation of court management in general.[7]

So, recognizing that court leaders have certain functions, carry out specific roles, and use caseflow management practices, how can a court leader can be a master and maestro of caseflow?

Some thoughts are noted in the chart below. I invite your consideration and assessment of how this might apply to your court leader functions.

Concluding Thoughts

Caseflow management needs ongoing leadership attention, much like managing human resources or monitoring the operating budget. A court leader is positioned to ensure ongoing action, attention, and practices for caseflow management.

With the recent impacts of the coronavirus, which changed how courts provide service access and delivery, rapidly expanded the use of technology, revamped processes, and modified time deadlines, there is renewed need to attend to caseflow management. Court leaders can be the masters and maestros of caseflow management, and make caseflow principles and practices continually visible.


[1] Alexander B. Aikman, The Art and Practice of Court Administration, CRC Press, 2007.

[2] See “The Court Administrator,” National Association for Court Management, January 2011, and “The Court Administrator – Court Administration: A Guide to the Profession,” National Association for Court Management, Summer 2016, https://nacmnet.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Court-Manual-final_print.pdf

[3] See www.nacmcore.org Core Competency on Leadership.

[4] Peter M. Koelling, J.D., Ph. D., Editor, The Improvement of the Administration of Justice, Eighth Edition, American Bar Association, Lawyers Conference Judicial Division, 2016 (and ascribed to Robert Tobin, Overview of Court Administration in the United States, National Center for State Courts,1997).

[5] Maureen Solomon, Caseflow Management in the Trial Court, American Bar Association Commission on Standards of Judicial Administration, American Bar Association, 1973.

[6] Sources for caseflow management best practices include: Maureen Solomon, Caseflow Management in the Trial Court, American Bar Association Commission on Standards of Judicial Administration, American Bar Association, 1973; Barry Mahoney, Changing Times in Trial Courts: Caseflow Management and Delay Reduction in Urban Trial Courts, National Center for State Courts, 1998; William Hewitt, and Geoff Gallas, and Barry Mahoney, Courts That Succeed – Six Profiles of Successful Courts, National Center for State Courts, 1990; David C. Steelman, John A. Goerdt, and James E. McMillan, Caseflow Management – The Heart of the New Millennium, National Center for State Courts, 2004; Alexander Aikman, The Art and Practice of Court Administration, CRC Press, 2007; National Center for State Courts, Institute for Court Management, course on “Fundamentals of Caseflow Management” 2012; and the National Association for Court Management Core (Core Competency) on “Caseflow and Workflow” 2016, available at http://nacmcore.org.  

[7] David C. Steelman, John A. Goerdt, and James E. McMillan, Caseflow Management – the Heart of Court Management in the New Millennium, National Center for State Courts, 2004.

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