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About the FJC

The Federal Judicial Center is the research and education agency of the judicial branch of the United States Government. The Center supports the efficient, effective administration of justice and judicial independence. Its status as a separate agency within the judicial branch, its specific missions, and its specialized expertise enable it to pursue and encourage critical and careful examination of ways to improve judicial administration. The Center has no policy-making or enforcement authority; its role is to provide accurate, objective information and education and to encourage thorough and candid analysis of policies, practices, and procedures.

By statute, the Chief Justice of the United States chairs the Center’s Board, which also includes the director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and seven judges elected by the Judicial Conference. The Board appoints the Center’s director and deputy director; the director appoints the Center’s staff. Since its founding in 1967, the Center has had eleven directors. John S. Cooke became director in 2018. Clara Altman became deputy director in 2018.

The organization of the Center reflects its primary statutory mandates. The Director’s Office is responsible for the Center’s overall management and its relations with other organizations. The Research Division examines and evaluates current and alternative federal court practices and policies. This research assists the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Center’s research also contributes to its education mission. The Education Division plans and produces education and training for judges and court staff, including in-person programs, video programs, publications, and Web-based programs and resources. The Federal Judicial History Office helps courts and others study and preserve federal judicial history. The International Office provides information to judicial and legal officials from foreign countries and informs federal judicial personnel of developments in international law and other court systems that may affect their work. Two units of the Director’s Office—the Information Technology Office and the Editorial & Information Services Office—support Center missions through technology, editorial and design assistance, and organization and dissemination of Center resources.

The Center receives an annual appropriation from Congress, which funds its operations. The Federal Judicial Center Foundation is authorized to accept gifts to support Center programs.