March 27, 2001 Contact: Laura Kiernan
   Public Information Officer
   271-2646 x359

NEWS RELEASE

 

CONCORD-- The New Hampshire Supreme Court today announced it has adopted formal procedures designed to enhance the existing process for performance evaluation of trial court judges. The rule also sets out new procedures for evaluation of Supreme Court justices.

In a letter to Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and leaders of the Senate and House, Chief Justice David A. Brock noted, that while an evaluation process for trial court judges has been in place for many years, the court believes "the more formalized evaluation process will prove useful and constructive." The court and the legislature are in agreement that a detailed and comprehensive evaluation process will help the judiciary continue to improve its performance.

The new rule for a "performance evaluation program" provides:

Under the new rule, the administrative judge of each court will be evaluated a minimum of once every three years by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and two associate justices.

The rule also provides that the Supreme Court will assess its own performance. Questionnaires will be designed and distributed annually to attorneys and parties who appeared before the Supreme Court during that year. The court expects that within 90 days it will adopt nationally recognized appellate court performance standards against which it will measure its own performance. Each justice, according to the new rule, will complete a self-evaluation and the justices will meet annually to discuss the questionnaires and evaluate each other’s performance.

The new procedures, which are effective immediately, were adopted temporarily under the Supreme Court rules process and now will be reviewed by the court’s Advisory Committee on Rules.

The new rule can be found on the court’s Web site at :

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/orders/suprul56.htm