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USAID RULE OF LAW PROGRAM
USAID სამართლის უზენაესობის პროგრამა

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25 Feb 2023

Seminar for Court Managers and Academics on Court Administration

The USAID Rule of Law Program supports the justice system in Georgia by improving court administration, protecting judicial independence, and making court operations more efficient and people-centered. As part of its work, the Program regularly provides technical assistance to individual courts to improve their court administration practices and engagement with court users and local communities.

On February 25, 2023, eleven court managers, one consultant from the High Council of Justice, the head of court system statistics from the Supreme Court of Georgia, and six academics from different universities took part in the inaugural Court Managers Seminar organized by the USAID Rule of Law Program.

The Program engaged a U.S. court management expert, Mr. Jeffrey Colwell, who delivered sessions on topical issues in court administration and case-flow management. Mr. Colwell is the court manager (‘Clerk of Court’) at the Federal District Court in Denver, Colorado, and has held this position since 2012. In this role, he is responsible for all components of court administration and works closely with the presiding judge to manage the administrative and operational needs of the court. In addition, from 2001-2004 Mr. Colwell was a military judge in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he performed functions similar to that of a U.S. District Court judge in criminal cases. He had tried approximately 300 federal felony and misdemeanor trials at Marine Corps bases, including approximately 30 jury trials.

The topics discussed by Mr. Colwell included court efficiencies, the use of statistics to improve case management planning, the optimal distribution of work, the use of court interpreters, jury operations, case management process improvement, and access to justice for pro se litigants and disadvantaged groups.

Dr. Tim Bunjevac, an Australian expert on people-centered justice and court administration, currently the Community Engagement Advisor at the USAID Rule of Law Program, also delivered a session on the court system reform in the State of Victoria, Australia. His session included court management and leadership, court management boards, affordable and accessible court proceedings, differentiated case management, case weighting, objective workload measurement, quality management systems, time-standards, and other court system performance indicators.  

The seminar was concluded with a session by Judge Robert Carolan – a U.S. judge with 34 years of experience as a trial court judge, nine years of international experience, and 17 years as a prosecutor – who is currently involved in long-term shadowing and mentoring of Rustavi City Court and Gardabani Magistrate Court judges specializing in civil and administrative cases. He shared his experiences as a former judge on the importance of effective communication between judges and court managers for successful court administration practices.

The Court Managers’ Seminar was an experience-sharing platform designed to create a strong network of court managers in Georgia and implement needs-based capacity-building activities on a regular basis. The participants evaluated the seminar as very informative and useful for their daily activities and expressed willingness to participate in similar activities in the future.

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