Communications Office:
David Bookstaver, Director
Kali Holloway, Deputy Director
(212) 428-2500

Date: April 8, 2009

Hon. Ann Pfau
Chief Administrative Judge

Seal of the Unified Court System

Second Step in Streamlining of Court Administration Announced

NEW YORK – Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau today announced the next phase in the streamlining of the administration of the State Judiciary with a new plan for management of the courts in New York City. This is the second step in an effort to streamline the administrative structure of the courts and focus resources on the core operations of the trial courts. 

In a consolidation of the current system, day-to-day management of Civil and Criminal Court operations in New York City will be incorporated into a new county-based system. Under this new structure, the current citywide positions of Administrative Judge for Civil Court and Administrative Judge for Criminal Court will be eliminated. Instead, each county will have a county Administrative Judge for Civil Matters and a county Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters. The county Administrative Judge for Civil Matters will manage the Supreme Court Civil Term and its Civil Court, overseeing the county’s Supervising Judge for the Civil Court and Supervising Judge for the Housing Court. Similarly, the county Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters will manage the county’s Supreme Court Criminal Term and its Criminal Court, overseeing the county’s Supervising Judge for the Criminal Court. The existing management structure for the New York City Family Court, however, will continue, with a citywide Administrative Judge for Family Court overseeing Supervising Judges in each of the five counties.  Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Fern Fisher will continue to be responsible for general oversight of all the courts in New York City, and as part of that responsibility will coordinate citywide policies and initiatives for the Civil and Criminal Courts. The central administration of the Civil and Criminal Courts, which had previously been divided, will now be combined under Judge Fisher’s supervision.

Chief Judge Lippman said, “This plan is a critical next step in our ongoing focus on trial court operations, streamlining administrative operations and developing clearer lines of communication within the judiciary. Placing the primary responsibility for management of the Civil Court and the Criminal Court with Administrative Judges in each county will allow for greater attention to local issues and concerns, enable quicker responses to operational and administrative problems when they arise and create more flexibility in deploying resources among the courts. It will also provide stronger administrative support for judges throughout New York City and a higher level of accountability in the way courts are managed.”  

Chief Administrative Judge Pfau said, “Adopting a county-based management structure will foster more efficient management and administration of the courts, which in turn will lead to better service for the public. Although this new approach will work well for civil and criminal operations, we recognize that family matters are unique. The operations of the New York City Family Court, therefore, will continue to be managed by a single citywide Administrative Judge.”

These changes were made in consultation with the Presiding Justices of the First and Second Departments.

The process for selecting county Administrative Judges under the new structure will begin immediately, with appointments to be announced in the next several weeks.


Web page updated: March 12, 2009