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The Impact of E-Court Services on Brick-and-Mortar Courthouses and the Physical Presence of Judges

Supply chain management -- the topic of the previous post, along with the related financial topic of asset management of court real estate (“The Untapped Public Wealth of Courts,” December 04, 2018) -- was initially prompted years ago by declining court cases and decreasing flows of legal proceedings in courts and tribunals. Understanding the size, location, and spatial distribution of existing judicial resources and networks is critical to evaluating and balancing the supply and demand of judicial services delivered by courts. How many courts does a judicial system need and where should they be located to administer justice effectively, efficiently, and fairly? How far away can courts be from the citizenry before the distance constitute a barrier for access to justice? These are questions addressed by me and my colleague Robert R. Rose, Director of the Center for Geospatial Analysis at the College of William & Mary (W&M) in Williamsburg, Virginia, in a series of judicial mapp…

The Untapped Public Wealth of Courts

Faced with shrinking budgets and revenue streams that are dry or reduced to a trickle, at the same time as citizens are demanding better public services, judiciaries must learn not only how to spend more wisely but also to manage their public assets better. Justice systems own valuable land and brick-and-mortar assets that they often do not use and do not need. As judiciaries around the world consolidate or close courts altogether to improve their supply chain management of judicial service, courthouses are not at capacity or sit empty as judges are transferred to other locations.
This unused real estate represents untapped capital that justice systems should exploit. Historically, courts were located in the administrative centers of towns, cities, states and provinces. Today, they sit on valuable real estate, some of it is outrageously so (think of the center and suburbs of the developing and developed nations of the world). The physical space that courts will need to occupy may decr…

The Wide Gap Between De Jure and De Facto Law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia is a party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT). The Kingdom’s own criminal code contains safeguards against ill-treatment and torture of detainees.
And yet, according to troubling accounts widely reported last week, advisors to the Saudi royal family, human rights activists, and others with knowledge of the torture of detainees, said that Saudi security officers tortured eight of 18 jailed women’s-right activists this year (“Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Face Torture,” Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2018; “Jailed Saudi Women’s Rights Activists Said to Suffer Abuse,” Washington Post, November 21, 2018). Together with the October 2, 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, these accounts of alleged incidents of psychological and physical torture, including sleep deprivation, electric shocks, and beatings of detain…

Comity and the Whole-of-Government Approach in the Judicial Branch

Do the formal safeguards of judicial independence and the separation of powers of the judicial branch impede a whole-of-government approach to addressing complex public policy problems that require inter-agency communication, coordination, and collaboration across all three branches of government?
This question plus my tentative answer, namely that the de jure and de facto safeguards of judicial independence and separation of powers constitute a serious impediment to the whole- of- government approach, were prompted by my participation in two events in the last two weeks.
The most recent was the Inaugural Whole of Government National Security Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, April 20, 2018, sponsored by the William & Mary’s Whole of Government Center of Excellence.Variously termed “one-stop government” and “joined-up government,” “whole-of-government” represents a change in emphasis away from organizational devolution, disaggregation, and single-purpose organizations towards …