Chicago Appleseed - Fund for Justice

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Administration of Justice and Court Reform

In 2010 and again in 2012 we established Judicial Performance Commissions which used specially designed judicial evaluations to help improve the quality of the judiciary through research‐based reports that included detailed discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of judicial performance. These reports also included proposed judicial performance improvement plans, when indicated—including such strategies as peer mentoring, additional education, and court watching.

We also submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court, in collaboration with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, our Policy Brief on proposed judicial recusal standards and procedures. We successfully recommended that the Supreme Court maintain the current “appearance of bias” standard.

Current Programs Include

  • Looking at best practices in the collection and analysis of court management data.
  • Preparing a proposal to suggest a better way of evaluating judges and using the resulting data to improve the quality of the judiciary. We will be using lessons learned from our Judicial Performance Commissions.
  • Preparing a proposal for the Circuit Court based on best practices from throughout the United States as to how to employ and utilize professionally trained court administrators.
  • Analyzing the various ways judges are elected and appointed to the bench in Illinois, and preparing proposals aimed at improving these approaches.

For more information, please contact Executive Director Malcolm Rich, at or 312-988-6552