Caseflow management is central to the court's business. It is the management of the processes and resources necessary to move a case from the point of initiation through disposition and into post-disposition activity. It is concerned with active attention by the court to the progress of each case once it has been filed with the court.
In 1991 the Michigan Supreme Court, through Administrative Order 1991-4, explicitly recognized that ". . . the management of the flow of cases is properly the responsibility of the judiciary." The court reaffirmed this commitment in 2003 and again in 2011 through Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2011-3.
A guide to caseflow management was originally developed in response to the Court's mandate and was revised to incorporate changes produced by Supreme Court Administrative Orders 2003-7 and 2011-3. The Caseflow Management Guide provides judges and caseflow management practitioners with guidance to develop and improve their caseflow systems. It incorporates information about the following court management principles.
Caseflow management is the supervision or management of the time and events necessary to move a case from initiation to disposition or adjudication.
Court supervision of case progress, including adjournments, is necessary for an effective and efficient case management system.
Judicial support and leadership and the involvement of the bar and justice agencies is critical to the development and maintenance of a caseflow management system.
Management information, whether from an automated or manual system, is needed to determine if the court is meeting its caseflow management goals and objectives, assess the effectiveness of case management procedures and practices, and determine the need for change.
Required Caseflow Management Plan
All trial courts are required to maintain current caseflow management plans consistent with the case processing time guidelines established in Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2011-3. A model local administrative order is available.
Required Local Administrative Orders
Assignment of Cases
All cases must be assigned by lot unless a different system has been adopted by local court administrative order under the provisions of subrule MCR 8.112. Assignment will occur at the time the case is filed or before a contested hearing or uncontested dispositional hearing on the case, as the chief judge directs. Civil actions must be assigned within appropriate categories determined by the chief judge. The chief judge may receive fewer assignments in order to perform the duties of chief judge. It is required by court rule that a local administrative order be issued defining and explaining the procedure of assigning cases "by lot" utilized by the particular court. [MCR 8.111(B)]
Circuit Court Arraignment in District Court
District court judges may be assigned as judges in the circuit court for the purpose of taking not guilty and guilty pleas in felony criminal cases. If a court desires approval to accept felony pleas, it must submit a local administrative order to the State Court Administrator signed by the chief judges of both the circuit and district courts. [MCR 6.111] Model provided.
Elimination of Circuit Court Arraignments
Under MCR 6.113, a circuit court may, through issuance of a local administrative order, eliminate the circuit court arraignment of criminal cases cognizable in the circuit court. Model provided.
Multiple District Plan for Magistrates
MCL 600.8320 allows two or more district courts within a county or two adjoining districts of the first class to establish a multiple district plan in which a district court magistrate is authorized to conduct arraignments, set bail or recognizance, provide for the appointment of counsel, or make determinations of probable cause and issue warrants for all of the participating districts within the multiple district area. For districts consisting of more than one county, the chief or only judge may authorize a magistrate appointed in one county to serve in another county within the district. Courts choosing to establish a multiple district plan must submit to the State Court Administrator a local administrative order signed by the chief or only judges of all participating districts. [MCL 600.8320] Model provided.
Pilot for Referring Selected Parenting Time Disputes to the Community Dispute Resolution Center for Mediation
Courts may refer certain domestic relations disputes to local Community Dispute Resolution Program (CDRP) centers for mediation. CDRP center mediators have completed a 40-hour general civil mediation training and a three-day State Court Administrative Office domestic relations mediation training. Courts may refer custody, parenting time, grandparenting time motions, parenting time complaints, and other contested custody and parenting time issues identified by the court to the CDRP center for mediation. Courts interested in establishing a referral process for these domestic relations issues must submit a local administrative order (LAO). A model LAO includes referral and mediation procedures. Courts should contact the local CDRP center before implementing a local administrative order for this program. See contact information for local centers. Direct questions about this program to Doug Van Epps at 517-373-4839 or email@example.com, or Timothy Cole at 517-373-5975 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Model provided.
Referrals to Domestic Relations Referee
Under MCR 3.215(B), the chief judge may issue an administrative order to refer all motions of a particular kind to a referee. Judges are free to assign other motions to a referee to the extent allowed by law. [MCR 3.215(B)]
Unless the circuit court does the scheduling of the arraignment on the information, the district court must do so in accordance with the administrative orders of the trial court. [MCR 6.110(I)]
Selecting Case Evaluator and Case Evaluation Plans
Each trial court that submits cases to case evaluation under MCR 2.403 shall adopt by local administrative order a plan to maintain a list of persons available to serve as case evaluators and to assign case evaluators from the list of panels. The plan must be in writing and available to the public in the case evaluation clerk's office. Other alternative plans must be submitted as local court rules under MCR 8.112(A). [MCR 2.403(A)] Model provided.
Use of Interactive Video Technology
Effective May 1, 2007, MCR 3.904 and MCR 5.738a allow courts to use interactive video technology (IVT) in enumerated delinquency proceedings, child protective proceedings, and probate matters. In addition, Administrative Order 2007-1 encourages courts in appropriate circumstances to expand the use of IVT to delinquency proceedings, child protective proceedings, and probate matters that are not enumerated in MCR 3.904 or MCR 5.738a by seeking a local administrative order (LAO). Model provided.
Waiver of Jurisdiction Over Civil Infractions Committed by Juveniles
Under MCL 712A.2e and MCL 600.8379(1), the circuit court may enter into an agreement with the district court to waive jurisdiction over all or specifically named civil infractions alleged to have been committed by juveniles within the geographic jurisdiction of the district court. Courts making such an agreement must submit a joint local administrative order to the State Court Administrator. [MCL 712A.2e, MCL 600.8379(1)] Model provided.
Resources used by trial courts in conjunction with case management practices in the courts include caseflow management plans, case screening forms, scheduling forms, alternative dispute resolution plans, and case management reports.
Case Screening Forms
Guidelines for ADR plans are available at the Office of Dispute Resolution website.
Case Management Reports
These reports are to be used for assessment and ongoing monitoring. They include both individual case progress reports and performance indicator reports as described in Chapter 5 of the Caseflow Management Guide.
Individual Case Reports
Performance Indicator Reports