Utah courts are becoming stronger, more efficient and more transparent according to newly-appointed Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant. Durrant gave the annual State of the Judiciary to lawmakers this afternoon on day one of the 2013 legislative session.
Chief Justice Durrant touted the high court's ability to handle a 10 percent cut in staff during the recession. In the face of reductions, the court system was able to reduce the age of pending cases by 34 percent, meaning cases are being resolved faster.
“We've made the business adjustments necessary to continue to serve the public with fewer dollars and a downsized workforce and importantly we are not asking any of the staff reductions taken over the past three years be restored," Durrant said.
Durrant says one key factor in their ability to increase productivity with a heavier workload and smaller staff is investment in technology. Starting in April, Utah courts will only accept documents filed in civil and domestic cases electronically.
“The advantages to these electronic solutions are endless," Durrant said. "Efficiency-we move data, instead of pieces of paper, so everything can be seen and worked on by everyone at once.”
Durrant added, electronic storage means records won't be lost and they'll be much more accessible to the public.
Durrant was sworn in as Chief Justice of Utah’s highest court in March of last year, succeeding Christine Durham who served as Chief Justice for a decade. Durrant was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2000.