This posting is in follow up to the prior posting (on April 5, 2021) on court governance. We all work within an organizational governance structure, often without giving it much thought. Governance practices are sometimes subtle and underappreciated.  A court leader can leverage their role in court governance for optimal organizational performance. This posting briefly suggests court leader actions to embrace and demonstrate court governance.

A governance structure provides consistency and predictability in operations and lays the foundation for day-to-day functions while preparing for long-term activities. Governance leads to operating stability and practices, consistency, accountability, and decision-making. It extends to interactions and engagement with justice system partners.

As covered in the National Association for Court Management (NACM) CORE© Competencies, the components of effective governance include roles, structure, rules, functions, and accountability.[i] I’ve summarized each below.

  • Roles – the understanding of leadership roles and responsibilities for decision and policy making
  • Structure – the presence of defined lines of authority and organizational structure for the administration of justice
  • Rules – the practice of ensuring that operational expectations adhere to mandates and rules, and are memorialized in policies and procedures
  • Functions -the practice of having a clear understanding and description of court functions and duties
  • Accountability – the practice of measuring performance to manage operations, promote transparency, and garner public confidence in the court.

A court leader has a responsibility to employ and support governance best practices. Here’s an illustration indicating the suggested components of court governance.  It offers a menu of actions for court leaders to consider and the benefits of using the governance components. This list of options may prompt court leaders for successful use of governance concepts.


[i] The full curriculum on court governance can be viewed at the National Association for Court Management site at https://nacmcore.org/competency/court-governance/

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