Innovative Organizational Models in Courts: “Office for the Trial” and the Restructuring of Services in the Courts of Turin and Florence

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Federica VIAPIANA, IRSIG - CNR, Italy
The Italian justice system is notoriously affected by several problems, including excessive length of proceedings, high litigation rate, lack of human, financial and material resources, and public distrust in justice.

In response to growing complaints about delays in justice and to reduction of public resources, a new wave of change took place in the Italian courts, involving technological, organizational and cultural innovations starting from below.

The lack of human resources, combined with the development of the online civil trial, has led to a shift in the internal organization, especially for non – judicial staff and support services, gradually moving from a “divisional” structure to a “functional organization”. Advantages of a functional organization are a more efficient allocation of staff personnel and a better specialization that may lead to more productivity and quality of support services.

On the other hand, this organization model has broken the close relationship between judges and their staff: one of the gravest difficulties of the Italian system is the profound solitude of the civil judges, which work alone, often without any form of assistance.

In order to solve these problems, some courts started to experiment new organizational models, especially the “Office for the Trial”, consisting of magistrates assisted by young interns. The Court of Turin, in particular, is experimenting an innovative organizational model where the judicial teams are composed not only by interns, but also by honorary judges, clerks and other staff. These teams are working in a flexible way, applying some of the basic principles of the “agile organization” model: simple rules, shared purpose, engagement and adaptability, self-organization.

This paper aims to discuss the impact of the organizational models on efficiency and quality of courts, exploring new perspectives for the development of innovative forms of organization, such as “agile organization”, in the courts of justice.