BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is releasing a four-part series on Judicial System Modernization to increase public understanding of Louisiana’s judiciary in the hopes of implementing best practices that will promote trust in Louisiana’s vast court system.
The series probes challenges that will be explored by experts, legislators and legal leaders during LABI’s IMPACT Seminar this Thursday, a daylong gathering focused on breaking down the Capitol’s impact on businesses across Louisiana and explaining the politics of the moment. Thursday’s panelists and participants will delve into “Modernizing Louisiana’s Judicial System: Improving Access, Fairness, and Transparency.”
Spearheaded by LABI’s Judicial Program Director Lauren Chauvin, the Judicial System Modernization series is steered by three major guideposts: greater access, transparency and efficiency. “The Modernization Series is an accumulation of more than two years of dedicated research and writing that we hope helps to shed light on a branch of government that often does not get the attention it should.”
In addition to the Executive Summary posted today, LABI will publish four installments in this series aimed at modernization opportunities as a means of improving transparency. Part I will address improving access to our courts through better, more coordinated technology. Part II will detail the need for more robust ethics rules and enforcement and Part III will examine how to achieve greater transparency in judicial funding and expenditures. Finally, Part IV will discuss the potential realignment of judgeships, a topic of particular importance as our Legislature embarks upon its decennial duty to evaluate many district boundaries.
According to the Executive Summary:
“For decades, public scrutiny from active voters, engaged civic and special interest groups, members of the media and elected officials has resulted in fairly transparent and accountable executive and legislative branches. But those same conditions have room for growth in our judiciary, where scrutiny and know-how are reserved for those with business before the courts – attorneys, law clerks, law enforcement, plaintiffs and defendants. Unless we find ourselves in court, most of us have very little knowledge of how justice is administered in Louisiana, be it effective or not. The result is a critical third branch of government in need of improvement and well-defined standards of transparency and accountability to the public.
“The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, as a member-driven organization representing more than 2,000 employers large and small, seeks to promote a robust business climate in our state. It’s why we’re engaged with policymakers, it’s why we advocate at the Capitol. However, when it comes to our judiciary, more and more, we find that decisions made in courtrooms have a profound effect on policy. And yet the judiciary is the one branch of our government about which the public knows the least.
“The administration of our largely taxpayer-funded judiciary and the policies emanating from it have garnered the business community’s engagement for decades, whether through LABI’s Civil Justice Reform Council or the 2014 campaign for more transparent judicial budgets. Two years ago, LABI recognized the need to prioritize and focus on the judiciary due to the growing impact judicial decisions have had on the business community in recent years. Our organization thus made a concerted effort to increase its knowledge of and engagement with the judiciary, which in turn elicited enthusiastic responses from jurisdictions where best practices are in place, and the encouragement of those frustrated with a general lack of transparency in the current system.”
To register for Thursday’s IMPACT Seminar, visit www.LABI.org/events.