Under the Dome

NC Chief Justice creates courts commission

Since becoming chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, Mark Martin has made more than one speech outlining how years of budget pressures have strained the courts and caused increasing delays that hamper the delivery of justice.

This week, as part of an effort to define what the courts will need, Martin announced the creation of a new North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.

The commission will be tasked with doing a comprehensive evaluation of the state’s judicial system and make recommendations for how the courts can be strengthened within the existing administrative framework.

“The Commission will consider how our courts can best meet institutional needs and twenty-first century public expectations, ensuring that we can continue to provide justice for all,” Martin said in a prepared statement.

There will be a focus on five issues — criminal investigation and adjudication, civil justice, technology and its application to the courts, the future of legal services, and public trust and confidence.

The chairmen will be Catharine Arrowood, president of the N.C. Bar Association, and Barbara Jackson, an associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Court, David Levi, dean of the Duke University law school, William Webb, a retired magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Brad Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Martin has invited participation from the General Assembly and will also include key leaders from the private sector and stakeholders from within the justice system.

The goal is for the commission to provide a report that can be used at the start of the 2017 General Assembly session that outlines what the judicial branch needs to modernize the court system and adequately fund it.