For immediate release: August 1, 2006
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Winnie Comfort, AOC
New Jersey Judiciary Releases Annual Statistical Report; Public Benefits from Timely Justice
Timely justice is a reality for the great majority of litigants in New Jersey, today announced Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts.
His announcement accompanied the release of the Judiciary's year-end statistical report, which shows that 89 percent of all cases currently before the state's Superior Courts are within time goals for resolution.
The Court Management Report for the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006 shows 1,056,399 cases were filed in Superior Court, an increase of 39,091, or 4 percent, from the previous court year. That figure includes a 7 percent increase in Civil Division filings and a 2 percent increase in Criminal Division filings. During the same period, the courts resolved 1,058,574 cases, an increase of 28,612, or 3 percent, more than the number of cases resolved during the previous court year.
Cases that are not resolved within time goals the courts have set for themselves are considered to be in backlog, and the courts have made significant strides in reducing the number of backlogged cases as a way of ensuring that as many cases as possible are resolved swiftly. Overall backlog has remained steady since last year, indicating that the courts have been able to address the increase in filings while holding the line on cases that have remained open beyond the self-imposed time goals.
"It is time," said Judge Carchman, "to acknowledge the great amount of work that has gone into reducing our backlog more than 66 percent in the past 10 years while at the same time keeping our new cases current."
Of the 212,833 cases open on June 30, 2006, the last day of the court year, 190,068 cases, or 89 percent, were considered current, meaning that they were within time goals for resolution.
Family Division caseloads were the most current: 99 percent of child abuse and neglect cases were current, with 47 cases in backlog statewide; 99 percent of child placement review caseloads were current, with 73 cases in backlog statewide; 97 percent of dissolution cases were current, with 601 cases in backlog statewide; 97 percent of non-dissolution cases were current, with 350 cases in backlog statewide; 97 percent of domestic violence caseloads were current, with 41 cases in backlog statewide; 96 percent of juvenile delinquency cases were current, with 229 cases in backlog statewide; and 95 percent of kinship cases were current, with 10 cases in backlog statewide.
The great majority of caseloads in other divisions were current as well. The majority of cases filed with the courts are filed in the Special Civil Part, which received 502,199 filings this year, an 8 percent increase from the previous court year. In spite of this increase in filings, 98 percent of the special civil caseload was current at year's end. Filings for other civil cases increased 4 percent from the previous year, from 99,706 cases to 104,022 cases. 85 percent of the civil caseload was current at year's end, and 67 percent of criminal cases were current.
"The swift resolution of disputes is critical to building the public's trust in our courts," said Judge Carchman. "We will continue to look for new ways to improve the quality and the timeliness of our services for our litigants. The court system has made enormous strides in providing timely justice, and we are proud of the judges and staff who continue to serve the public in an efficient manner."
The report, which is available online at njcourtsonline.com, includes information by case type for each county in addition to the statewide summary.