Federal Judicial Center

Federal Judicial Center in the United States


The research and development mechanism for the federal courts. The Federal Judicial Center was established by Congress in 1967 to perform several kinds of functions. First, the center is heavily involved in research on the federal judicial system. The center has a research division with staff representing various academic disciplines. The division either conducts research itself or contracts with experts outside the center on particular projects. The results of the research are made available to federal judges and court personnel as well as the academic community. The center offers recommendations aimed at the improvement of federal court management. Finally, the center engages in educational activities. In addition to publishing various materials for judicial personnel, the center conducts training programs. Noteworthy are the New Judges Seminars, where various materials are provided to newly appointed federal judges. The seminars are also excellent opportunities for new judges to meet and communicate with other judges.


Congress created the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) in 1967, acting on the Judicial Conference’s recommendation that a separate agency in the judicial branch be responsible for conducting research on the operations and procedures of the federal courts and for providing orientation and continuing education to judges and court employees.

Analysis and Relevance

The Federal Judicial Center is not directly involved in the management of the federal courts. Rather, the center gathers and disseminates information on judicial operations. The center essentially functions as a “think tank.” The center is managed by a director who is selected by the chief justice. The center also has an advisory board of directors chaired by the chief justice. The center has a small staff, but also contracts with private parties or other government agencies to conduct research on specific questions.

Description by the own Federal Judicial Center

It is the research and education agency of the federal judicial system. It was established by Congress in 1967 (28 U.S.C. §§ 620–629), on the recommendation of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

By statute, the Chief Justice of the United States chairs the Center’s Board, which also includes the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and seven judges elected by the Judicial Conference.

The organization of the Center reflects its primary statutory mandates. The Education Division plans and produces education and training for judges and court staff, including in-person programs, video programs, publications, curriculum packages for in-court training, and Web-based programs and resources. The Research Division examines and evaluates current and alternative federal court practices and policies.

This research assists Judicial Conference committees, who request most Center research, in developing policy recommendations. The Center’s research also contributes substantially to its educational mission. The Federal Judicial History Office helps courts and others study and preserve federal judicial history. The International Judicial Relations Office provides information to judicial and legal officials from foreign countries and assesses how to inform federal judicial personnel of developments in international law and other court systems that may affect their work. Two units of the Director’s Office—the Information Technology Office and Communications Policy & Design Office—support Center missions through technology, editorial and design assistance, and organization and dissemination of Center resources.


Notes and References

  1. Definition of Federal Judicial Center from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

See Also

The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) and the Federal Courts

In the words of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts: The Federal Judicial Center provides training and research for the federal judiciary in a wide range of areas including court administration, case management, budget and finance, human resources, and court technology. The FJC develops orientation and continuing education programs for judges and other court personnel, including seminars; curriculum materials for use by individual courts; monographs and manuals; and audio, video, and interactive media programs. The FJC conducts studies of judiciary operations, and makes recommendations to the Judicial Conference for improvement of the administration and management of the federal courts. The FJC’s operations are overseen by a board of directors consisting of the Chief Justice, the Director of the Administrative Office, and seven judges chosen by the Judicial Conference.

Federal Judicial Center

In Legislation

Federal Judicial Center in the U.S. Code: Title 28, Part III, Chapter 42

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating federal judicial center are compiled in the United States Code under Title 28, Part III, Chapter 42. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Judiciary (including federal judicial center) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, Court Personeel of the US Code, including federal judicial center) by chapter and subchapter.


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