CAADRS / Statistics


Why Statistics?

One of CAADRS’ fundamental goals is making information on court-related ADR available to the widest possible audience. The underlying principle is that more information on court-related ADR in Illinois will lead to better court-related ADR in Illinois.

Within a framework of limited public resources for the administration of justice, resources for evaluation of court programs are generally restricted – if not downright unavailable. To address this situation, CAADRS provides assistance to courts in collecting and reviewing evaluation data. Not only can this assist a court in improving its own programs, but the dissemination of statistical information across judicial circuits can raise important questions and spark creativity.

Which Statistics?

Traditionally, courts have used administrative systems to track caseloads. These essential systems can report on total numbers of cases at the beginning of a year, at the end, and the change. They provide critical information as to the need for increased or reduced resources in a given area.

The administrative systems, however, do not lend themselves to evaluation. Generally lacking database sort functions, they do not yield the kinds of information that assist in evaluating a court-related ADR system. They cannot sort cases and report which types or ages of cases were handled during a given year.

For example, while a court’s administrative tracking system could produce reports on how many cases on a particular call were handled in a given year, it could not tell which cases they were. The net effect of any new program changes that were implemented during the year could not be measured because the system could not tell whether the cases that were still on the call had been subject to the changes.

Statistics for Major Civil Litigation Mediation

This question of management or evaluative data – as compared to administrative information – was first addressed during the creation of the pilot major civil litigation mediation program in Winnebago County. A computer consultant was hired to create a management information system for the program. The system established a database of information on every case, providing tracking of timeframes, case types, individuals involved, and other characteristics. With this system, critical information about the performance of the mediation program could be assembled and evaluated. Most importantly, changes in the program could be monitored and addressed. The computer consultant, Steve Kennedy, has since become a CAADRS Affiliated Scholar and Practitioner.

Who Is Participating?

As additional circuits have implemented major civil mediation programs, CAADRS has made the software available to them. Eight of ten programs (1st, 6th, 11th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th Judicial Circuits) now use the tracking system.