The Justice of the Peace Court is very pleased to have been selected as one of the sites for training by the Center for Court Innovation. Our selection speaks to the impact that the concepts of procedural fairness have upon our litigant base. We have the ability every day, through the way we interact with and treat our litigants, to profoundly change their perception of, not just the Justice of the Peace Court, but the judicial system and process as a whole. As the place where justice starts, we treat this responsibility with great respect. This training will help us to continue to build upon the procedural fairness training that we have already begun. It’s a benefit to both our court and the justice system as a whole.”
Hon. Alan Davis, Chief Magistrate, Justice of the Peace Court
The Justice of the Peace Court was recently selected as one of three sites in the nation to receive training from the Center for Court Innovation entitled, “Enhancing Procedural Fairness.” This initiative is the result of a partnership between the Center for Court Innovation, the National Judicial College and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. This is a national effort to help judges and court staff improve perceptions of fairness in the criminal courts.
Yale Law School professor Tom Tyler and others have published research showing that defendants are more likely to comply with the law when they believe they are treated fairly and have a clear understanding of the process. This new training curriculum was designed by a team of scholars, judges, court administrators and communication specialists. It is designed to improve courtroom communication techniques and offers practical tools for achieving better court outcomes based on current research in the field of procedural fairness.
This training will build on previous in-house training conducted with judges and staff on the issue of procedural fairness and provides a particularly exciting opportunity to use the newly learned techniques when the Justice of the Peace Court opens its community court in Wilmington. As a high volume, entry-level court, the Justice of the Peace Court serves a diverse population, many of whom represent themselves or have limited English proficiency. With these populations in mind and with a consistent focus on efficiency, training for Justice of the Peace staff and judges must necessarily focus on communication and perceptions of fairness.
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