Caseflow management

Understanding how cases move through the system provides valuable insight for various aspects of court administration. The National Center for State Courts provides research and consulting services to help courts assess case processing and develop strategies to combat backlogs and delays.

What is caseflow management?

Caseflow Management is the constellation of court rules, business practices, culture and governance, and staffing and technology infrastructure that are assembled to achieve the objectives of timely, cost-effective, and procedurally fair justice.

Principles of effective caseflow management encompass the following themes:

  1. Leadership and Collaboration
  2. Proactive and Flexible Triage
  3. Effective Resource Allocation
  4. User-Centered Process
  5. Data-Driven Performance Management

See how NCSC employs effective case management principles in its products.

Need some help?

NCSC Court Research Associates Lydia Hamblin, Paula Hannaford-Agor and Brian Ostrom can help assess your caseflow management needs. We also invite you to review examples of past consulting projects. Please contact our Research or Court Consulting Services divisions for additional assistance.

History of caseflow management

The American Bar Association and state courts began to identify caseflow management as a focus area in the ‘70s and ‘80s. In 1980, Kansas adopted the first statewide time standards for civil and criminal cases. Several years later, the Conference of Chief Justices, Conference of State Court Administrators and ABA adopted time standards.

NCSC and others began further examination of caseflow management:

  • 1990 - NCSC published Trial Court Performance Standards.
  • 2003 – National Association of Court Management publishes Core Competency Curriculum Guidelines.
  • 2005 - NCSC published CourTools.
  • 2010 - “Maintstreaming” of problem-solving court programs began through caseflow management.
  • 2010: Integration of caseflow management/performance measurement into “High Performing Courts.”

(Source: Steelman, David. Caseflow Management (2008). Future Trends in State Courts)