SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council at its Nov. 14 meeting will consider an updated priority list (list starts on page 45 of the report) for new courthouse construction projects statewide. The council will also consider adjusting the scoring process and criteria used to create the list.

Before the Legislature will fund any more new courthouse construction projects, the council must reassess its priority list. With help from local courts, a working group of the council’s Court Facilities Advisory Committee and council staff reviewed hundreds of court facilities throughout the state. The process included a lengthy self-assessment by each superior court of their operations and the potential implications of new courthouse construction.

Before submitting the final report for the council’s consideration, the committee revised the initial scoring criteria and priority list based largely on public comment.

Other items on the council meeting agenda include:

Legal Services for Low-Income Litigants: The council will consider distributing $2.5 million in this year’s state budget for the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel pilot projects, which provide legal representation and improved court services to eligible low-income litigants.   

Legislative Priorities: The council will consider its legislative priorities for the upcoming year. Proposed priorities include improving court efficiency, investments in the judicial branch, and securing critically needed judgeships.

Court Adoption and Permanency Month: The council will consider a recommendation to proclaim November “Court Adoption and Permanency Month.” This year marks the 20th year the council has recognized the efforts of California courts and justice partners to provide children and families with fair and understandable judicial proceedings and just permanency outcomes.

Presentation of Distinguished Service and Aranda Awards: The council will present Justice Dennis Perluss and Judge Hilary Chittick with its Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to California's judicial branch. In addition, the California Lawyers Association—in partnership with the Judicial Council and the California Judges Association—will present Judge Carol Brosnahan with the Aranda Access to Justice Award, which honors a judge for improving fairness and access to the courts, especially for low-and moderate-income Californians.

The meeting agenda and council reports are online, and a link to the live webcast of the meeting will be on the California Courts website on the day of the meeting.