New Hampshire Bar Journal
2005 Winter, 4.
New Hampshire Bar Journal Winter 2005Volume 45, Number 4Introductionby Dan WiseThis issue, "Reinventing Our State Courts," brings together in condensed and, we hope, easily readable form, four recent reports that thoughtfully re-examine the basic assumptions of our state courts' approaches to dispute resolution and call for major changes in how the judicial branch and the legal profession serve the public.
All four reports were issued in 2004, three coming out in the last quarter of the year, the same year the Hon. John T. Broderick, Jr., succeeded the Hon. David A. Brock as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The reports' titles are easily confused - "Challenge to Justice," "Vision of Justice," the "Family Law" task force report and the report of the Family Division Implementation Committee.
The first report, issued in January 2004, was the "Challenge to Justice" report by the Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants in New Hampshire Courts, chaired by NH Supreme Court Associate Justice James E. Duggan. The "Vision of Justice" report, issued in September, was the work of the Task Force on Justice System Needs & Priorities. That group, mostly justice system insiders captained by attorney Bruce W. Felmly, succeeded in producing a long-range vision for the future of the courts in less than nine months' time. In November, the legislatively created Task Force on Family Law, a diverse group of 21 lawmakers, professionals and citizens led by New Hampshire Judicial Council Chair Nina Gardner, wrapped up two years of research, consultations with experts, public meetings and deliberations, with a detailed manifesto for changes in the courts' handling of all family matters. And the following month, the Family Division Implementation Committee, a judicial branch effort chaired by New Hampshire Supreme Court Associate Justice Linda S. Dalianis, clocked in with its report, a blueprint for a statewide implementation of a court with specific jurisdiction over all matters involving families and children.
Each report looks at fundamental aspects of the work of the state courts from a different perspective, and each pinpoints many of the same issues and makes overlapping recommendations. Each notes the necessity for giving greater emphasis to mediation and...