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Mercer Vicinage Ombudsman

Audrey Jones-Butler
Ombudsman
609-571-4205
FAX - 609-571-4208
175 South Broad Street, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 8068
Trenton, New Jersey 08650-0068
MerOmbudsman.mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us
Hours of Operation:
Daily: 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Please call first to make an appointment.


Origin and Definition

The term Ombudsman has its origin in Sweden. It means representative and it is a gender neutral term. The Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as: "an official or semi official office or person to which people may come with grievances connected with government. The Ombudsman stands between, and represents, the citizen before government." The Supreme Court of New Jersey mandated the establishment of an Ombudsman program for the Judiciary. The Mercer Vicinage Ombudsman Office was created in May of 2001.


Purpose

To promote an environment of continuous improvement in areas of customer service and equal court access in compliance with court policies and procedures by establishing effective mechanisms for:

  • Public Information
  • Community Relations
  • Court User Assistance

Public Information

The Ombudsman works with the court divisions, municipalities and county personnel to develop and provide customers with updated information related to court services and processes.

The Ombudsman reviews signage, bulletin boards, lobby information booths, web pages, publications, and materials for self represented litigants and linguistic minorities.

The Ombudsman provides training and information on Judiciary policies, procedures, public information and customer service.The Ombudsman works with media contacts to provide information about services and educate the public about the court system. The Ombudsman maintains updated materials related to social and legal service entities in the community.


Community Relations:

The Ombudsman is responsible for community outreach efforts that familiarize the public with the court system to promote an environment of public trust and support. The Ombudsman initiates, coordinates and participates in Court Tours, Speakers Bureau, Law Day, training programs and other special events. The Ombudsman visits community organizations and participates in committees.


Court User Assistance:

The Ombudsman:

  • Confidentially receives and documents complaints from the public related to misunderstandings, conflicts, mistreatment or discrimination in the courthouse. The Ombudsman reviews facts and provides recommendations to improve existing services and develop new ones.

  • Acts as a mediator to resolve conflicts between the public and the courts. The Ombudsman provides information related to established legal system complaint and disciplinary procedures.

  • Serves as a point of contact to citizens who may need assistance in coordinating multiple court services during their visit to the courthouse.

  • Responds to inquiries related to court processes, court services and referrals to other agencies of government.

  • Collects and reviews customer suggestion forms.


Complaints, inquiries, requests for assistance and/or suggestions may be submitted in person, by telephone or in writing.

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