Statewide survey finds public is satisfied with trial courts

A survey released March 16 by the Michigan Supreme Court revealed that court users are very satisfied with their experiences in Michigan's trial courts. On questions ranging from fairness to timeliness, 26,000 people statewide were surveyed late last year as part of the Court's efforts to measure trial court performance and improve service to the public.

What's the verdict?

. 82 percent of court users felt the way the judge, magistrate or referee handled their case was fair.

. 86 percent of court users were able to get their business done in a reasonable amount of time.

. 93 percent of court users felt they were treated with courtesy and respect by court staff.

"Michigan is a national leader in measuring court performance, and the public is very satisfied," said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. "The public satisfaction survey and other measures are critically important management tools that help judges statewide make informed decisions and be the best possible stewards of tax dollars."

Young also noted that Michigan's judiciary has stepped up to meet the challenge of shrinking state budgets. For example, more than 40 judgeships are being eliminated, a move that will ultimately save taxpayers more than $175 million. In addition, three out of four courts statewide have plans to share resources, balance workloads, and increase collaboration.

"Consistently high public satisfaction rankings tell us that streamlining and re-engineering of court processes to increase efficiency can be accomplished while maintaining a superior level of customer service," Chief Justice Young added.

The survey questions are modeled after the National Center for State Courts' survey template. The survey was made available to everyone leaving the courthouse during a five-day period, and courts were instructed to obtain a representative sample of persons served by the court. Completed surveys were mailed to SCAO where they were scanned, verified, and analyzed.

The Michigan Supreme Court is driving change by measuring performance to improve outcomes; implementing technology to work smarter; and re-engineering court processes to increase efficiency.

Published: Thu, Mar 26, 2015