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News Item
Access and Fairness: Statewide District Court Survey Starts this Week

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Minnesota Judicial Branch has launched a four-month effort to survey court participants and stakeholders in each of the state's district courthouses. In addition to the in-courthouse surveys, the Judicial Branch will also survey Court Payment Center users, both over the phone and online, and visitors to the Judicial Branch website. The goal of this effort – called the Access and Fairness Survey – is to ensure accountability of the Judicial Branch, improve overall operations of the court, and enhance the public’s trust and confidence in the judiciary.
 
“The Access and Fairness Survey is an opportunity for court participants at all levels to tell the Judicial Branch about their personal experiences in our courthouses, using our public website, and accessing the Court Payment Center. We need to hear from Minnesotans about their experiences so we know what is working and how to better meet court users’ needs,” said Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea. “Court user participation in the Access and Fairness Survey is critical to the administration of justice in a fair, equitable, open, and accessible manner. I encourage all who have the opportunity to take the Survey to do so.”
 
Access to Justice, Excellence, and Fairness and Equity are three of the Minnesota Judicial Branch strategic goals. Results from the Access and Fairness Survey are used to measure the Branch’s success in meeting these goals. The Minnesota Judicial Branch last conducted this Survey in 2008 and 2013. The Survey asks participants to review the court system, not individual judges or court administration staff. Survey participants will rate the court’s accessibility and its treatment of them in terms of fairness, equality, and respect. Those surveyed are expected to include participants in legal matters and their friends and family, victims, witnesses, attorneys, service counter users, jurors or potential jurors, and all other users of the court system.
 
Surveys will be held on a rolling basis throughout Minnesota’s courthouses anytime between now and March 29, 2019. State Court Administration staff are working with local court administration in all 87 counties to implement the Survey over the course of the next four months. Survey duration will vary by jurisdiction based on response rates.
 
Courthouse surveys are generally done on paper by in-person courthouse visitors, though customers also have the option of completing an online version of the courthouse survey after they leave the courthouse. During the Survey period, courthouses will feature tables with paper surveys, a survey return box, and Minnesota Judicial Branch-branded pens. Courthouse signage and staff interactions will encourage visitors to complete the Survey.