The Importance of (Smart) Case Weighting

Accurate measurement of court workload is an essential component of modern judicial management. Many tasks – including performance measurement, budgeting, allocation of judges and other staff, and assessments of judicial maps - crucially depend upon a proper measurement of judicial workload.

Unfortunately, court workload is in many countries still primarily assessed by the total number of cases, not taking into account distinctions between routine cases and very complex and time-consuming cases. This article demonstrates – by reference to a concrete example – how seriously flawed such a heedless assessment of judicial workload can be.

A case weighting system is required to provide better measurement of judicial workload. Traditionally, it has been a very hard -and has often taken many years - to establish a proper case weighting system. But by adopting a new “smart” approach to case weighting it is possible to provide faster (and better) assessments. This presentation highlights some of the key advantages with smart” case weighting. Section 1 illustrates the danger of ignoring case weights. Section 2 describes traditional case weighting, while section 3 explains how smart case weighting differs from the traditional approach. Finally, examples of smart case weighting is provided in section 4, and section 5 sums up the main advantages and challenges associated with the approach.