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Court Users Give High Marks to Dakota County Court

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dakota County District Court recently released the results of a survey designed to measure the quality of service provided by judges and court staff.  Local attorneys surveyed rated the judges and court staff of Dakota County Court overwhelmingly positive in several key areas.

“It is very encouraging that the people who know us best, the attorneys who regularly practice in Dakota County Court, have such a favorable opinion of the service the court provides and the staff who work here,” said Assistant Chief Judge Edward Lynch. 

In September 2007, the First Judicial District Administration Office surveyed over 150 attorneys from the Dakota County Bar Association, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office and Public Defenders working in the Dakota County.  

Ninety-two percent of the respondents rated the quality of service provided by Dakota County Court as “excellent” or “above average”.  Ninety-seven percent indicated that they are “always” or “usually” able to obtain hearing dates within a reasonable time, while 90 percent are “always” or “usually” able to begin hearings or trials on the date scheduled without continuances or delay.  Additionally, 88 percent responded that they “strongly agree” or “agree” that written and telephone communications with the court are handled in a prompt, courteous, and professional manner.

The results regarding court staff were similarly encouraging.  Ninety-nine percent of respondents “strongly agree” or “agree” that Dakota County court staff are courteous and helpful, while 96 percent find them to be knowledgeable.  “Court staff process a high volume caseload often dealing with individuals who are faced with difficult and emotional situations.  Staff take what they do seriously and it shows in the professional way that they conduct themselves with the public,” said Carol Renn, Dakota County Court Administrator.

Since the survey was conducted, the court has added an additional judge as a result of funding from the Legislature due to an increasing caseload.  There are now 19 judges chambered in Dakota County.

The judges and court staff continue to welcome suggestions and comments from the public and practicing bar on how the court experience and service can be improved.  “On a statewide basis, courts are striving to improve the quality of service they provide and to ensure that litigants receive timely, meaningful access to justice,” said Judge Lynch. 

“It is one of the Judicial Branch’s strategic priorities to maintain and enhance the public’s trust and confidence in the court.  Obtaining feedback from those who use the court in Dakota County is an important step in determining how the court can best meet the challenge of maintaining quality service for the over 100,000 cases brought to Dakota County Court each year for resolution,” said Lynch.