Administrative Office of the United States Courts

Administrative Office of the United States Courts in the United States

Agency that manages the daily operations of the federal courts. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts was established by Congress in 1939. The office is an agency of the Judicial Conference of the United States, although the director is selected by the Supreme Court. The administrative office performs basic management duties for the federal courts. It also collects and processes data on federal court activities. The office acts as staff for the judicial conference and functions as a clearinghouse for information obtained by the conference and its many committees. Finally, the office provides liaison among the federal Judiciary (Judicial Organization), the conference, and the legislative and executive branches. The office represents the conference before Congress, conveying budget requests, advocating additional judgeships, and recommending changes in court rules and other matters of consequence to the federal courts.

See Also

Judicial Conference of the United States (Judicial Organization).

Analysis and Relevance

The establishment of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts was an outgrowth of President Franklin Roosevelt’s criticism that the federal courts were not managed efficiently. Roosevelt proposed that a Court Administrator ( U.S.) be appointed with extensive administrative authority over the federal courts. Because the Judiciary (U.S.) wished to retain more control over the courts than the Roosevelt proposal allowed, it offered its own counterproposal for the administrative office. Neither the office nor its director was given any policy making authority, but were to function largely as the administrative arm of the judicial conference. This proposal was adopted, and it remains in effect. Finally, the office has not been altogether successful in securing congressional support for various proposals affecting the court system, especially in its attempts to obtain more money for judicial branch expansion.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Administrative Office of the United States Courts from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts and the Federal Courts

In the words of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts: The Administrative Office, an agency within the judicial branch, provides a broad range of legislative, legal, financial, technology, management, administrative, and program support services to the federal courts. The Administrative Office is responsible for carrying out the policies of the Judicial Conference of the United States. A primary responsibility of the Administrative Office is to provide staff support and counsel to the Judicial Conference and its committees. The numerous additional responsibilities of the Administrative Office include collecting and reporting judicial branch statistics, developing budgets, conducting studies and assessments of judiciary operations and programs, providing technical assistance to the courts, developing training programs, and fostering communications within the judiciary and with other branches of government and the public. The Director of the Administrative Office, who is appointed by the Chief Justice in consultation with the Judicial Conference, serves as the chief administrative officer of the federal courts. Congress vested many of the judiciary’s administrative responsibilities in the Director. Recognizing, however, that the courts can make better business decisions based on local needs, the Director delegates the responsibility for many administrative matters to the individual courts. This concept, known as “decentralization,” allows each court to operate with considerable autonomy in accordance with policies and guidelines set at the regional and national level.

The Administrative Office of the United States Court, the judicial branch’s central support agency, provides a broad range of management, legal, technical, communications, and other support services for the administration of the federal courts.

Administrative Office of the United States Courts Background

Administrative Office of the United States Courts: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Administrative Office of the United States Courts. This part provides references, in relation to Administrative Office of the United States Courts, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Administrative Office of the United States Courts by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Administrative Office of the United States Courts and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Administrative Office of the United States Courts or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Administrative Office of the United States Courts and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Administrative Office of the United States Courts should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Administrative Office of the United States Courts when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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