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Case Differentiation: An Approach To Individualized Case Management

NCJ Number
Judicature Volume: 73 Issue: 1 Dated: (June-July 1989) Pages: 17-21
H Bakke; M Solomon
Date Published
5 pages
Differential case management is a method of case processing that is currently being tried in several jurisdictions and that shows promise of providing just and timely disposition in a manner consistent with the characteristics of each individual case.
It contrasts in several ways from traditional caseflow systems, in which all cases are treated alike and are subject to the same procedures and time limits. Thus, it uses an individualized approach that involves the combination of several techniques. These include the court's acquisition by the court of supplemental information at or shortly after the filing of the complaint, monitoring of the service of the complaint and the filing of the answer, the use of negotiated or rule-imposed deadlines for completion of certain pretrial procedures, court monitoring of attorneys' compliance with deadlines, communication with parties regarding the consequences of their failure to meet deadlines, and continuous review of the status of the case. Jurisdictions currently using variations of differential case management programs in civil cases include Alaska, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. The New Jersey program uses three tracks for case assignment and has developed a special organizational structure and staff positions to support its efforts. Preliminary data show that the program is achieving positive results.