MARYLAND JUDICIAL CONFERENCE

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


[photo, Maryland Judicial Center, 187 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland] Organized in 1945, the Maryland Judicial Conference reviews the status of judicial business in the various courts, and considers improvements to court practice and procedure. It evaluates and recommends legislation, and discusses proposals to improve the administration of justice and the judicial system in Maryland. Annually, the Conference meets in plenary session

The Conference consists of all judges of the Court of Appeals, the Court of Special Appeals, the Circuit Courts, and the District Court of Maryland. The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals serves as chair, and the State Court Administrator as executive secretary (Maryland Rules, Rule 16-802).

Maryland Judicial Center, 187 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland, February 2020. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Maryland Judicial Center, 187 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland]

JUDICIAL COUNCIL

As the Executive Committee of the Maryland Judicial Conference, the Judicial Council began. It reorganized under its present name in October 2000.

In order to maintain the cohesiveness, leadership, and efficacy of the Judiciary, the Judicial Council provides guidance to the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

To the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the Council submits recommendations to improve the administration of justice in Maryland.

The Judicial Council is part of the Maryland Judicial Conference. Between the Conference's annual sessions, Conference work is conducted by the Council and a number of committees as established by the Council in consultation with the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals (Maryland Rules, Rule 16-802).

Maryland Judicial Center, 187 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland, February 2020. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


The Council consists of twenty-three members: the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the Chief Judge of the Court of Special Appeals, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Conference of Circuit Judges, the Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, the Chair of the Conference of Circuit Court Clerks, the Chair of the Conference of Senior Judges, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, the State Court Administrator, the Clerk of the Court of Special Appeals, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Conference of Circuit Administrators, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Conference of Circuit Court Clerks, and the Chief Clerk of the District Court. An additional three Circuit Court judges, four District Court judges, and two District Administrative Clerks are appointed as members to two-year terms by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, in consultation with the Chair of the Conference of Circuit Judges, the Chief Judge of the District Court, and the Chair of the Conference of Court Administrators.

The Deputy State Court Administrator serves as Secretary for the Judicial Council.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

In 2000, the Executive Committee of the Judicial Council originated as the Judicial Cabinet, formed by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. It later was renamed the Executive Committee.

The Committee advises the Chief Judge on governing the Judicial Branch of Maryland government. It considers judicial policy and serves as a forum for maintaining communication among the judicial leadership.

Five members constitute the Committee: the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the Chief Judge of the Court of Special Appeals, the Chair of the Conference of Circuit Judges, the Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, and the State Court Administrator.


COMMITTEES

Committees of the Judicial Council help develop consensus on internal policies and practices of the Judiciary. They also develop and recommend to the Judicial Council and the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals various positions advanced by the Judiciary to other agencies or groups on matters that affect the administration of justice.

Members of the Judiciary comprise members of the committees of the Judicial Council. Established by Administrative Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, committees are assisted by staff from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

At present, twelve main committees assist the Judicial Council. They include the District Court Chief Judge's Committee, and are concerned with Alternative Dispute Resolution; Court Access and Community Relations; Court Operations; Court Technology; Domestic Law; Education; Juvenile Law; Legislative; Major Projects; Senior Judges; and Specialty Courts and Dockets. These committees are aided by the Judicial Ethics Committee, as well as various subcommittees and work groups.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITTEE
In January 2015, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee was organized. Throughout Maryland's judicial system, the Committee promotes the use of alternative dispute resolution processes. It reviews existing rules and makes recommendations for changes; monitors pending legislation that potentially would impact dispute resolution programs and services; and oversees the development of such programs and services. Further, it sets standards of conduct for professional mediators.

Supporting the Committee's work are two subcommittees: District Court Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Research and Grants.

COURT ACCESS & COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE
The Court Access and Community Relations Committee began as the Public Awareness Committee, which was started by the Executive Committee of the Maryland Judicial Conference. In January 2015, the Public Awareness Committee reorganized as the Court Access and Community Relations Committee.

Three subcommittees aid the Committee. They are concerned with Community Relations, Language Access, and Self-Represented Litigant. The Communication and Access to Judicial Information Joint Subcommittee assists the Committee.

COURT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
The Court Operations Committee was established in January 2015. Under the Committee's purview are all matters concerning the efficient operation of the courts. The Committee works to develop consistent statewide operational policy and to implement known best practices.

Under the Committee are the Communication and Access to Judicial Information Joint Subcommittee, and three subcommittees: Case Management, Forms, and Jury Use and Management. Additionally, five work groups assist the Committee. They are concerned with Court Reporting, Expungement, Legislative Review, Trial Court Clerks Workload Study, and Joint Records Retention.

COURT TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
In January 2015, the Court Technology Committee was created, replacing the Technology Oversight Board of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The Committee is responsible for efficient and effective technology operations within the Judiciary.

To the Judicial Council, the Committee provides advice and guidance concerning the implementation of new technology systems and their impact on judicial operations and functions. The Committee evaluates major information technology projects, and sets priorities and makes recommendations for judicial technology.

Under the Committee are the Communication and Access to Judicial Information Joint Subcommittee, and four subcommittees: Casesearch and Data Request, Noncase Record Technology, Policy for Use of Technology by Counsel and Parties, and Project Evaluation. An Email Retention Work Group also aids the Committee.

DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE'S COMMITTEE
The District Court Chief Judge's Committee was organized in January 2015.

Three subunits assist the Committee: the Chief Clerk's Subcommittee, the Civil and Domestic Work Group, the Criminal and Traffic Work Group, the Project Evaluation Subcommittee.

DOMESTIC LAW COMMITTEE
The Domestic Law Committee originated as the Family and Domestic Relations Law Committee, which was started by the Executive Committee of the Maryland Judicial Conference. In September 2001, the Committee reorganized with the Child Support Enforcement Committee, and the Juvenile Law Committee to form the Family Law Committee. In January 2015, the Family Law Committee was renamed the Domestic Law Committee.

The Domestic Violence and Peace Order Subcommittee assists the Committee along with five work groups: Benchbook, Court Process, Domestic Violence Best Practices, Guardianship and Vulnerable Adults, and Legislative Review.

EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Formed in January 2015, the Education Committee coordinates the continuing legal education for the Judiciary, including all judges, family magistrates, Orphans' Court judges, commissioners, and judiciary staff. For judges, magistrates, and commissioners, the Committee guides, promotes, and encourages education. For judiciary staff, the Committee ensures ample training opportunities for professional development, communicates their availability, and encourages participation.

With the Judicial College of Maryland, other Judicial Council committees, departments, and justice partners, the Committee works to effectuate the provision of all educational services, and seeks out new technologies, and innovative and effective delivery methods (Administrative Order, Nov. 23, 2015).

Six subcommittees aid the Committee. They are concerned with Commissioner Education, Judicial Education, Magistrate Education, Mentor, Professional Development, and Technology Training Services.

EQUAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
To strengthen the Maryland Judiciary’s commitment to equal justice under the law, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals formed the Equal Justice Committee in June 2020.

The Committee is to recommend strategies to dismantle any discriminatory behaviors in all aspects of the Judiciary’s functions. It will identify necessary improvements, resources, and support services, and develop educational opportunities for ongoing Judiciary-wide engagement in the pursuit of equal justice for all.

JUVENILE LAW COMMITTEE
In January 2015, the Juvenile Law Committee was organized.

The Committee recommends policy, rules, and legislation to improve the administration of juvenile law, including juvenile justice and child welfare.

Under the Committee are two subcommittees: Foster Care Court Improvement Program; and Juvenile Justice.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
The Legislative Committee was organized by the Executive Committee of the Maryland Judicial Conference.

The Committee is aided by two subcommittees: Civil Law, and Criminal Law.

MAJOR PROJECTS COMMITTEE
The Major Projects Committee began as the Major Project Executive Steering Committee of the Court Technology Committee.

SENIOR JUDGES COMMITTEE
The Senior Judges Committee began in January 2015 as the Retired and Recalled Judges Committee, and adopted its present name in August 2016 (Administrative Order, Aug. 25, 2016).

The Committee monitors changes to laws, rules, and policies that might affect retired and recalled judges.

Under the Committee are four subcommittees: Legislative, Newsletter, Retirement Process and Procedures, and Senior Judges Maryland Electronic Courts (MDEC) Access.

SPECIALTY COURTS & DOCKETS COMMITTEE
In December 2006, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals created the Problem-Solving Courts Committee (Administrative Order, Dec. 21, 2006). In January 2015, the Committee reformed as the Specialty Courts and Dockets Committee.

The Committee is assisted by three subcommittees: Business and Technology Case Management; Mental Health, Alcoholism, and Addiction; and Problem-Solving Courts.

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