Skip to main content

Court Administrator

COURT ADMINISTRATOR

An officer of the judicial system who performs administrative and clerical duties essential to the proper operation of the business of a court, such as tracking trial dates, keeping records, entering judgments, and issuing process.

A go-between for judges, attorneys, and clients, the court administrator essentially runs the court's business. The behind-the-scenes work of this position ranges from scheduling trial dates to handling all official correspondence. Courts produce volumes of paper; the administrator's office processes them, accepting lawsuit filings, authenticating court documents, and issuing writs and summonses. Formerly known as the clerk, the post has evolved since the mid-1980s as technology has streamlined some elements of the justice system.

State and county administrators do essentially the same job. Unlike those in past decades, nearly all administrators today are appointed by judges. Judicial appointment has helped take politics out of this powerful position, and by the mid-1990s, only the state of Montana still preserved an elected post for its court administrator. State administrators operate under statutory authority that entitles them to execute court affairs and provides an annual staff budget. County-level administrators are generally chosen by committee, with funding for their offices commonly generated by court fees.

Contemporary trends in court management have reshaped this traditional office. Technology has led the change: where once courts relied entirely on paper records, computer databases are fast becoming the norm. For example, using computer software to track trial dates has begun to replace the ancient practice of relying on the court docket. Beyond allowing for greater flexibility, this new method also turns the tables on lawyers who have customarily controlled the pace of cases. A related trend in the mid-1990s, introduced by Minnesota, is toward uniformity: the state's General Rules of Practice place all jurisdictions under the same uniform rules, aiming to save time in scheduling as well as ensuring that local attorneys have no advantage over out-of-state attorneys.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Court Administrator." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Court Administrator." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/court-administrator

"Court Administrator." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/court-administrator

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.