AOC Trains Clerks and Others on Caseload Reporting

Since 1973, court clerks, administrators, and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) have partnered to collect caseload information for the Superior Courts of Georgia. The data is critical for circuits requesting an additional judgeship and is used to inform state and county resource decisions.

Gone are the days of AOC staffers traveling to county courthouses and counting caseload by hand.  Increasingly, the AOC has relied on technology to communicate and collect yearly case count data, placing local court officials in the position of reporting and verifying their caseloads.  In 2012, the AOC began offering workshops to explain the case count methodology and to address questions and issues from participants. These workshops and the accompanying manual (Georgia Caseload Reporting Guide: CY 2011) are used to communicate the processes, definitions, and frequently asked questions regarding caseload reporting. More importantly, the trainings provide a forum for court personnel to seek guidance on applying the methodology to their local practices, systems, and policies.

“Determining the county’s true caseload is a challenging process,” shared Judge Louisa Abbot, Superior Court, Eastern Judicial Circuit. “It is essential to judicial and executive governing authorities that personnel responsible for producing the case count have a thorough understanding of the intricacies involved. The training offered by the AOC may be especially useful to those areas where there are new personnel, or they are not as familiar with caseload study requirements.”

The AOC’s Office of Research, Planning, and Data Analysis hopes to learn as much from the participants as it imparts to them. Dr. Greg Arnold, Assistant Director for Statistical and Applied Studies, notes, “The data and resulting statistics help show changing caseloads, document workload in the clerk’s office, and justify additional needed funds, equipment, and staff.”

The bulk of the training allows participants to present individual examples, and then the group attempts to find solutions that work at the local level and fit into the Judicial Council’s overall methodology. The trainings also provide participants with tools to plan their case count for the coming years.

Since 1973, reporting methods have improved and the focus on case types has shifted. For example, while manual approaches still are used in some parts of the state, more than 63% of courts now utilize an online tool, the AOC Portal, to record and verify their caseload. The goal of the trainings is to bring all court personnel up to speed with these and other changes.

Twelve workshops were conducted in the Alapaha, Atlanta, Dublin, Eastern, Middle, and Oconee circuits, and the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth administrative districts with 110 attendees participating.

For technical assistance with caseload reporting please contact Ms. Pamela Dixon at pamela.dixon@gaaoc.us or 404-277-4654.

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