New York Courts dot gov
New York StateUnified Court System

Each year, the Unified Court System seeks to recognize those employees who have distinguished themselves by exceptional acts of heroism, outstanding performance in the workplace, community service or educational efforts. These awards honor individuals who have met the highest standards of public service.

The Judith S. Kaye Service Awards originally were presented as the Merit Performance Awards. In 2016, the name of the awards was changed to honor the memory of Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, who served on the Court of Appeals from 1983 to 2008, first as an Associate Judge and then (from 1993 to 2008), as Chief Judge. The presentation of the merit performance awards, each year, was particularly dear to the Chief Judge as she took great pride and pleasure in honoring the work of court employees who had distinguished themselves. Accordingly, the re-naming of the Merit Performance Awards to honor Judge Kaye is a fitting tribute to this outstanding jurist.

Nominations can be submitted online at

Unified Court System employees, members of the bar, community and civic groups, and members of the public are invited and encouraged to nominate UCS employees for special recognition in any of the following four categories:

Heroism: Employees who have performed acts of heroism in the courts or the community

Outstanding Performance in the Workplace: Employees who are outstanding because of their sustained superior work performance, courtesy toward co-workers and the public, initiative or creativity;

Community Service and Humanitarian Pursuits: Employees who have especially benefited the community in which they live through their involvement in community service or humanitarian pursuits;

Outstanding Educational Efforts: Employees who have made substantial contributions in educating youth or the community about the law and our courts;

Awards: Recipients of the Judith S. Kaye Service Award are recognized, each year, in a ceremony at the Court of Appeals on Law Day.

Learn More About the Award Honorees: