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Court Funding and Cost Containment

Containing costs in a time of limited budgets is a major judicial initiative. This page contains articles and other resources related to federal court funding and cost-containment efforts.

Judiciary Succeeds in Campaign to Cut Space and Rents

Image: Judges, Administrative Office officials and space managers from around the country gathered recently to celebrate the Judiciary’s success in cutting work space by more than 3 percent over the past five years.

Published onDecember 11, 2018

The federal Judiciary has succeeded dramatically in its five-year quest to reduce building space and rental costs, exceeding its original reduction goals by nearly 30 percent.

Courts, Justice Department Join Forces to Collect Offenders’ Debts

Published onMarch 23, 2017

When a defendant is convicted of a crime in federal court, he or she owes many debts to society. In addition to likely prison time, offenders may be required to pay thousands of dollars in restitution, fines, and special assessments after sentencing.

Court Libraries Adapt to Deep Cuts, Changing Technology

Patricia Michalowskij, circuit librarian for U.S courts for the D.C. Circuit: “What we do hasn’t changed, but how we do it has changed quite a bit.”

Published onDecember 21, 2015

Court libraries and librarians in all 12 regional circuits are playing a leading role in two of the federal Judiciary’s most critical management initiatives: reducing building space and containing personnel and other costs.

FY 2016 Funding Meets Judiciary Needs

Published onDecember 21, 2015

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress contains $6.78 billion in discretionary funding for the federal Judiciary, a 1.2 percent increase from the previous year and essentially equal to the Judiciary’s final budget request.

Redesign Saves Millions, Gets Courthouse Out of a Jam

 Senior U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow

Published onMay 28, 2015

For nearly 20 years, the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been overcrowded. In 1996, court officials requested an expansion, and Congress eventually authorized $10 million to design a large annex building.

Judiciary Asks Congress to Invest in Improved Court Operations

Judiciary Asks Congress to Invest in Improved Court Operations

Published onMarch 26, 2015

In order to adequately support the Constitutional and statutory mission of the federal courts, the Judiciary today asked Congressional appropriators to provide $7 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal year 2016, a 3.9 percent increase over the preceding year.

How to Clear a Room: Bankruptcy Court Reduces Rent and Long-Term Storage Costs

An image of boxes of files and file folders stacked together for removal.

Published onMarch 19, 2015

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York had a room filled with files. That’s not unusual. Even though today most cases are filed electronically, case records have a way of accumulating over the years. But in less than five months, with the end of the fiscal year, the court needed to clear the room. The files had to go.

First Year of Space-Cutting Initiative Yields Major Successes

Published onJanuary 8, 2015

The federal Judiciary has made major strides in the first year of a five-year campaign to reduce court building space by 3 percent.

Judiciary’s FY 2015 Funding Meets Needs

Published onDecember 15, 2014

The Judiciary will receive $6.7 billion in discretionary appropriations, a 2.8 percent, or $182 million, increase above FY 2014 discretionary funding. The FY 2015 level is essentially equal to the Judiciary’s re-estimated FY 2015 funding request.

Judiciary, GSA Begin Dialogue on Rent, Maintenance

Published onSeptember 9, 2014

The federal Judiciary and the General Services Administration (GSA) are launching an important new dialogue on space and rent management, at a time when the U.S. government’s landlord and one of its largest tenants are both grappling with a new era of downsizing.

Probation Office Pilots Lean, Open Design to Shrink Space, Rent Bills

Glass-enclosed meeting rooms can be smaller, while maintaining an open feel. Here, a meeting is held at an office of Accenture, a consulting firm that has assisted on the Integrated Workplace Initiative.

Published onAugust 27, 2014

A probation office in Chicago has become the national "flagship" of a federal Judiciary initiative to shrink rent costs, by reimagining and downsizing the traditional office workplace.

Bankruptcy Court Move in Miami to Save $1.1 Million Annually

Published onJuly 22, 2014

In a space-cutting move that will save the judiciary more than $1 million a year in rent and security costs, the federal bankruptcy court in Miami is moving into a nearby district court building.

Judiciary Looks to Stabilize Financial Position in 2015

Judiciary Looks to Stabilize Financial Position in 2015

Published onMarch 26, 2014

A representative of the Judicial Conference expressed strong concerns to Congress about the Judiciary’s long-term ability to carry out its functions under a no-growth federal budget.

Judicial Conference Reports Show Sequestration Impact, Detail Court Space Savings

Judicial Conference Reports Show Sequestration Impact, Detail Court Space Savings

Published onMarch 11, 2014

Federal Judiciary leaders today received a report on the impact of reduced funding due to sequestration – which cut court staff and delayed cases – and a separate report on an aggressive multi-faceted strategy to reduce the costs of court space.

Judiciary Restores Pay Rates for Panel Attorneys

Judiciary Restores Pay Rates for Panel Attorneys

Published onFebruary 13, 2014

The hourly pay rates for lawyers who represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases, which were temporarily reduced last year, have been restored, effective March 1, 2014.