Access and Fairness Survey Reveals Court Users in Georgia Leave With Positive Experience

By Wendy Hosch, Research and Statistical Analyst

How many people go in and out of courts each day is hard to say, but a recent survey demonstrates that those who do business with the state’s courts are usually satisfied when they leave. 
 
From October 2014 to December 2014, nearly 4,000 court users in Georgia answered a survey developed by the National Center for State Courts and administered by staff of the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts (JC/AOC) and Kennesaw State University’s A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research.
 
Almost 90% of courthouse visitors answered that they were treated respectfully and courteously by judges and courthouse staff. 
 
The study was commissioned by the JC/AOC as part of the implementation process of its strategic plan. The survey will be used to set a baseline standard of court visitors’ perceptions of access and fairness, as well as the quality of customer service in state courts.
 
The survey addressed the quality of customer service at court facilities across the state, as well as how fairly people felt treated when appearing before a judicial officer. More than 3,800 responses were received from 109 court locations, including both county and municipal courts. The responses are now being analyzed by the JC/AOC for distribution to participating courts, which can be leveraged to improve the delivery of court services.
 
The survey’s findings showed more than three-fourths of respondents agreed that their case was handled fairly, with 41% strongly agreeing. More than 80% of respondents felt court forms were clear and easy to understand. Of those who responded to questions about access, more than 80% felt their court made reasonable efforts to remove physical and language barriers to court services.
 
While 78% of respondents felt they completed their courthouse business in a reasonable amount of time, almost 12% felt unable to do so. This was the area of highest dissatisfaction.
 
“There are always areas in which we can improve court administration,” said Christopher Hansard, Assistant Director for Research and Regulatory. “We now have a baseline measure for comparison when we evaluate court access and fairness in the future.”
 
More information about the JC/AOC’s Access and Fairness Survey can be accessed here.

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