Court manager

From Justice Definitions Project

Who is a court manager?

Court managers undertake administrative duties to enhance the efficiency of court management and improve case disposal.[1]

Official Definition of Court Manager

The 13th Finance Commission report,[2] which introduced the post of Court Manager, states that his role is "to assist the Principal, District, and Sessions judges in the administrative functioning of the courts”.[3]

Per the report, the post of Court Manager would be created in each judicial district with the Principal, District and Sessions judges. Similarly, posts of two Court Managers may be created for each High Court and one for each bench of the High Court.  However, the post of court manager has not been regularised across high courts and only a few high courts have passed rules regarding regularisation.[4] Most recently in 2022, the High Court of Kerala held that court managers appointed temporarily to the High Court must be regularised.[5]

Functions of Court Managers

For the implementation of the 13th Finance Commission Report, the Department of Justice in consultation with the National Judicial Academy provides the suggested functions, responsibilities and qualifications of court managers.[6]

The following roles have been proposed:

  1. Feeding the proposed National Arrears Grid to  be set up to monitor the disposal of cases in all the courts as and when set up.[7]
  2. Prepare and update a 5 year Court Development Plan.
  3. Ensure the compilation of accurate statistics on the functioning of courts.
  4. Ensure that the Court Management System complies with the policies and standards established by the High Court.
  5. Ensure the case management system complies with the policies and standards established by the High Court.
  6. Ensure that the court meets standards established by the High Court on access to justice, legal aid and user friendliness.
  7. Ensure that the court meets the quality of adjudication standards established by the High Court.
  8. Ensure that the Human Resource Management of ministerial staff in the court comply with the Human Resource Management standards established by the High Court.
  9. Ensure that the core systems of the court are established and function effectively (documentation management; utilities management; infrastructure and facilities management; and financial systems management (audits, accounts,payments).
  10. Ensure that the IT systems of the court comply with standards established by the High Court and are fully functional.[6]

Qualifications of Court Managers

High Courts of Punjab & Haryana,[8] Manipur,[9] Chhattisgarh,[10] Rajasthan,[11] Jharkhand,[12] Kerala,[13] and Tripura[14] have incorporated the post of court manager and the required service conditions under its high court service rules. Other high courts such as Allahabad, Calcutta, Gauhati,[15] Madras,[16] and Odisha have prescribed separate rules for the appointment and qualifications of Court Managers. High Courts such as Gujarat,[17] Patna,[18] Sikkim,[19] Uttarakhand[20] and Himachal Pradesh[21] appoint court managers on a contractual basis.

The minimum qualification that has been recommended for court managers is an MBA but different states have specific eligibility conditions over and above an MBA and varying requirements of work experience. States have varied work experience requirements ranging from 2 years to 10 years[22] in systems and process management, IT systems management, HR management or financial systems management. Computer application skills are a common requirement across states; the High Court of Odisha has prescribed at least a 6 months diploma in computer application.[23] Courts such as the High Court of Calcutta[24]have more specific requirements; the candidate must have the basic degree of B.Tech / BE (Computer Science / IT) with Graduate Degree (MBA) or Advanced Diploma in general management.

Only a few states require the candidate to know the vernacular language of the state and mostly stress ‘people skills’ and communication skills.[25] Most states also specify that candidates must have completed their education in a regular mode and not via distance education.[8] The Majority of states have provided preference for law graduates. Thus, the qualifications and work experience required for court managers across states are varied.

Research that engages with Court Managers

DAKSH: The Role of Court Managers in Indian Judiciary: Past, Present and the Way Ahead (2020).[26]

The report analyses the status of court managers in the Indian Judiciary. It suggests strengthening the position of the court manager by regularising the position across all states and creating a system with the scope of promotion and ensuring reasonable pay. Adding to this delineation of duties and responsibilities of court managers and giving them further control over administrative functions of the court can ensure that the post of court manager can be realised to its full potential.

Role of Court Managers in Different Jurisdictions[27]

The report is an amalgamation of the role of court managers with the intention of assisting judges in administrative funcitons to enhance disposal of cases by leabing more time for judges to engage in their judicial role

A study on Court management techniques for improving the efficiency of subordinate courts[28]

This report is a result of a field study on the work that is assigned to court managers. It seeks to study existing practice and procedure in cases and trials, and the role of staff in this administration and management. Further it looks at important stake-holders in this process, i.e. judicial officers, Public Prosecutors, lawyers and other court practitioner, and clerks and Bailiffs. It does this by conducting empirical research via questionnaires to the stake-holders as well as direct observation of court proceedings.

International Experiences

Jurisdictions around the world have implemented the post of Court Manager in different ways.

United States

In the United States, they are referred to as ‘Court Administrators’ and bring professional management knowledge to the judiciary and increase the time judges have for adjudication.[29]

United Kingdome

In the United Kingdom, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service, established in 2011, is tasked with handling the administrative functions of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales. It is an executive body that is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.[30]


The Courts Administration Service of Canada which was established in 2003 provides effective support and services to the following courts: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada.[31]

Roles that could be mistaken for a Court Manager

  1. Court Reader/ Master- means the court staff that assists the Court in the conduct of proceedings including handling of files, preparation and display of daily cause list, maintenance of registers, calling of cases etc.[32]
  2. Court Keeper- Staff who arranges the court rooms, chambers, office rooms and other functions relating to the maintenance of the court.[33]


  1. Recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission Regarding Improving the Justice Delivery System in the Country (2010),
  2. Thirteenth Finance Commission Report (2009),
  4. DAKSH, ‘The Role of Court Managers in Indian Judiciary: Past, Present and the Way Ahead’ (2020),
  5. Vidya Gopan v High Court of Kerala 2021 SCC ONLINE KER 495,
  6. 6.0 6.1 Guidelines – Utilisation of grant-in-aid for Improvement in Justice Delivery recommended by Thirteenth Finance Commission (September 2010),
  7. Thirteenth Finance Commission Report (2009),
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rule 8C(1), High Court Establishment (Appointment and Condition of Service) Rules, 1973 (HC of Punjab and Haryana),
  9. Rule 6, The High Court of Manipur Service (Conditions of Service and Recruitment of Court Manager) Rules, 2014,
  10. Third Schedule, The Chattisgarh High Court Services (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Conduct) Rules, 2017,
  11. Part- I(A), The Rajasthan High Court Staff Services Rules, 2002,
  12. Schedule B, Jharkhand High Court Officers and Members of Staff (Recruitment, Conditions of Service, Conduct and Appeal), 2002,
  13. Rule 7A, The Kerala High Court Service Rules, 2007,
  14. Schedule V, The High Court of Tripura Services (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Conduct) Rules, 2014,
  15. Rule 10, Gauhati High Court (Appointment and Conditions of service of Court Managers for the State of Assam) Rules, 2018,
  16. Rule 6, Madras High Court Adhoc Rules for Court Managers – 2012,
  17. Gujarat High Court, Advertisement for appointment of court managers (2017),
  18. Patna High Court, Advertisement for the post of court manager (2015),
  19. High Court of Sikkim, Court Manager Employment Notice (2017),
  20. High Court of Uttarakhand, Advertisment for Court Manager (2014),
  21. High Court of Himachal Pradesh,Terms and Conditions of appointment etc. of the Court Manager (2013),
  22. Guidelines for Recruitment, Conditions of Service & Functions of Court Managers,2014,
  23. Rule 8 Odisha Senior Court Manager and Court Manager of the High Court and District Courts (Method of Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2020,
  24. The Calcutta High Court Service (Conditions of Service and Recruitment of Court Manager) Rules, 2012,,2012.pdf
  25. Advertisment for Court Manager,
  26. Daksh, Role of Court Managers in India." available at: (accessed on 21 June 2023.)
  27. Dr. Geeta Oberoi, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, "Role of Court Managers in Different Jurisdictions" available at: (accessed on 21 June 2023)
  28. Dr Vikas H. Gandhi, Department of Justice, ‘A study on Court management techniques for improving the efficiency of subordinate courts.’ Available at: (accessed 07/11/2023.)
  29. United States Department of Justice, Court Administrator: A Manual (1992),
  30. HM Courts and Tribunals Service,
  31. Courts Administration Service,
  32. Duties of a Reader (2016),
  33. Powers and duties of employees,
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