New York State Unified Court System

Trial Court Restructuring in NYS:

An Analysis of the Budgetary Impact

Executive Summary


March 1998

Trial Court Restructuring in NYS: An Analysis of the Budgetary Impact

Executive Summary

The structure of the court system in New York State is among the most complex in the nation. In addition to the appellate courts, New York's court system consists of eleven separate trial courts — the Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the County Court, the Family Court, the Surrogate's Court, the New York City Civil and Criminal Courts, the District Courts on Long Island, City Courts outside of New York City, and Town and Village Justice Courts.

The Unified Court System's restructuring proposal would reconfigure the nine State-funded trial courts (i.e., all trial courts except the Town and Village Courts) into a two-tiered structure, consisting of a Supreme Court and a District Court.

The benefits of the proposed court restructuring are numerous:

 

 

Court restructuring will result in significant savings to the public treasury, although there will be some limited initial costs that partially offset the savings. Those costs are estimated at between $2.3 million and $2.9 million annually, and are in two areas:

These limited increased costs will be far outweighed by the savings that will result from restructuring. These savings, which are projected to grow substantially as the plan is implemented, include:

 

If the court system's plan were put into effect on January 1, 2000, as proposed, in just the first year of the plan's implementation the State would save:

 

 

These first-year savings total $4.77 million. Offsetting these savings by the projected $2.3 million first-year cost of restructuring leaves a net savings to the State of $2.47 million in the first year of court restructuring. See Attached.

By the fifth year of implementation the State would save:

 

 

These fifth-year savings of $38.08 million would be offset by $2.3 to $2.9 million in increased costs, for a net savings of over $35 million. See Attached.


The net savings for the first five years of restructuring will be:

 

 

The cumulative net savings for the first five years of restructuring will total $92.31 million.

The detailed analyses that support these conclusions are set forth in full in Trial Court Restructuring in NYS: An Analysis of the Budgetary Impact, which is available from the Office of Court Administration.

Office of Court Administration

25 Beaver Street, 11th floor

New York, NY 10004

212-428-2105

Office of Court Administration

Agency Building 4, 20th floor

Albany, NY 12223

518-473-6087