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Federal and State Court Cooperation: Overview

Cooperation between state and federal courts can enable more efficient use of time and resources for both courts. When working together, state and federal courts can identify sources of potential tension (e.g., calendar and scheduling conflicts, certification of state law questions, access to records) and consider how to share limited resources (e.g., facilities, emergency preparedness, civics education programs, translators).

State–federal judicial councils allow judges and administrators to work together to achieve these goals, establishing an arrangement that can also be used down the road, as new issues arise. 

This curated collection of resources provides information on how to use state–federal judicial councils, and it also identifies opportunities for courts to work more informally to improve cooperation and judicial relationships so that potential problems can be addressed more efficiently.

Judges and others interested in enhancing cooperation between state and federal courts can benefit from the resources in this collection, including the following:

  • The 2017 pocket guide on the use and benefits of formal state–federal judicial councils, along with sample forms that courts can use when establishing their own councils
  • Recent research on the collaborative activities of federal and state judges, and topics that federal chief district judges believe would benefit from additional collaboration
  • A sampling of activities state–federal judicial councils have undertaken that can be used by other courts
  • Additional resources to help courts approach these complex problems, including a pocket guide on cooperation in multijurisdiction litigation cases

If you are aware of other relevant state or federal court activities designed to foster cooperation, or that would benefit from greater cooperation, please contact Jason A. Cantone at fedstate@fjc.gov.