Court Community Communication

Understandable Courts

Curriculum Guideline Two

Court leaders must recognize the importance of understandable courts and know how to assess the court’s understandability and ease of use for average citizens. They and other court officials, both judges and staff, increase the community’s understanding of, access to, and ease of use of the courts.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to assess and recognize current court access, communication, and ease of use problems and barriers and to effectuate solutions;

  • Knowledge of successful techniques including self-service centers and technology solutions and the Internet used in other courts to make complex processes understandable and accessible to the average citizen considering, responding to, or actively involved in litigation;

  • Knowledge of how to improve access to the court both through the telephone and the Internet, to help the public use and respond to court forms and notices, to find the courthouse and its departments, and, once they come to court, to navigate court facilities;

  • Ability to oversee staff and processes that translate complex court processes to the average citizen while avoiding the practice of law or giving legal advice;

  • Knowledge of needed adjustments and accommodations to the self-represented in family law and other case types;

  • Ability to make an inventory of public contact information and to make sure that the court meets public needs;

  • Skill in implementing excellent customer service throughout the court;

  • Knowledge of current technology that can heighten the public’s understanding and increase ease of use through kiosks, interactive computer programs, and the Internet;

  • Ability to develop court Web sites that incorporate “new media” (video, audio, photographs, and text) to promote public understanding and public access;

  • Skill in educating court employees about the judicial and justice system, how their job fits in the larger system and its importance to justice and public trust and confidence, and how they can better serve the public during daily contacts, whether by telephone or in person.

View the Summary of Court Community Communication Curriculum Guidelines or click on each of the six Curriculum Guidelines to see the associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

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