The state's Judicial Council accepted a series of recommendations Friday aimed at making family court less of a poor step-child. More judges should be assigned to family law matters, and judges ought to have two years experience before being assigned to family law. (In many courts, family law assignments aren't seen as desirable, and end up going to judges with the least seniority). Other recommendations would seek to change the criteria for judicial appointments to enable more family law attorneys to be appointed to the bench.
Still other recommendations in the lengthy task force report call for more interpreters, better services for pro per litigants, improved responses in cases of abuse or neglect, and other improvements in what the report says is an area of law "often regarded as somehow less important than some other types of cases in the courts."
In other action, the Council voted down a request from L.A. court officials that it seek legislation allowing money to be taken from funds earmarked for new court construction to fill holes left in trial court operating budgets. Instead, the council voted to seek sufficient funding to avoid court closures in the coming year. L.A. has said it will have to lay off an additional 500 court staff.