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State Courts Face Budget Ax as Elder Law Cases Grow

Posted Nov 6, 2008 2:12 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Budget shortages are hitting 34 state court systems, according to a report by the National Center for State Courts.

Thomas Clarke, vice president of research and technology for the NCSC, told the National Law Journal that courts may find it more difficult to trim costs in the latest economic downturn.

"A lot of the things that could be done to ease the budget pain were done in the last recession a few years ago, and can't really be used again or pushed further this time around," he said.

Instead, more major changes may be in the offing. He told the publication that budget concerns are spurring the “political will to consider very major changes in the way courts operate."

The budget cuts are hitting even as courts are grappling with an expected increase in cases stemming from the swelling population of older Americans, the story says. Probate cases, mental health matters and guardianship requests are all expected to increase.

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