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Sample Charter for a State–Federal Judicial Council

July 26, 2017

Charter of the State–Federal Judicial Council of  _______ (state)

1. Name

The Council shall be known as the State–Federal Judicial Council of ________________ (state). 

2. Purpose

The purpose of the Council is to improve and expedite the administration of justice by the state and federal courts of the state through cooperative efforts; to promote and encourage collaborative judicial relationships between the state and federal judicial systems in the state; to promote discussions between state and federal judges on issues of mutual interest; to share materials and information that could benefit both systems; and to provide a forum where state and federal courts can work together to explore and solve problems of mutual concern.

3. Composition

The Council shall consist of at least  ______  representatives from the state judiciary and ______ representatives from the federal judiciary.

State Representation. Representatives of the state judiciary shall consist of justices of the state supreme court, one of whom shall be the chief justice, judges of the state court of appeals, and circuit judges. The state court representatives shall be appointed by the chief justice of the state.

Federal Representation. Representatives of the federal judiciary shall consist of U.S. circuit court of appeals judges who are residents of the state and U.S. district judges, U.S. bankruptcy judges, and U.S. magistrate judges. The federal court representatives shall be appointed by the chief judge of the district court in the state.

Administrative Support. Administrative support for the Council shall be provided, when necessary and appropriate, by the office of the state court administrator and/or the offices of the Court Clerks of the U.S. District Court, subject to approval of their supervisory judicial officers. Administrative support staff are nonvoting members of the Council.

A judge who is member of the Council by virtue of office shall remain a member of the Council while holding that office. A judge who is a member of the Council by virtue of designation shall remain a member of the Council for the period designated or until the designating judge shall appoint a successor.

4. Meetings

The Council shall meet ___ time(s) each year, at a place within the state at a time designated by the chair or by a majority vote of the Council. The chair may call special meetings of the Council to consider only matters specified in a written notice of the special meeting, provided to the Council members at least seven days in advance of the meeting.

5. Officers

Chair. The chief justice of the state shall preside at the inaugural meeting of the Council. At that inaugural meeting, the members shall elect a chair, who shall serve a term of two years. The chair of the Council shall rotate every term between members of the state and federal judiciary. The chair shall set the date of the meetings, preside over meetings, establish agendas for the meetings, oversee any subcommittees, and speak for the Council. The chair may also call special meetings as noted above.

Vice-Chair. The council shall elect a vice-chair to serve in the absence of the chair and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Council. The vice-chair and chair should not both be federal judges or state judges.

Executive Secretary. The council shall appoint a representative from the office of the state court administrator or the offices of the Court Clerks of the U.S. District Court as an executive secretary to the Council. The executive secretary shall provide administrative assistance to the chair and shall take minutes of council meetings, provide notice for and arrange meetings, and to perform other such duties as may be assigned by the chair, vice-chair, or Council. The executive secretary may also be asked to perform these duties at subcommittee or special meetings.

6. Voting

All motions, resolutions, and other actions of the Council shall be adopted by majority vote of the Council taken among the duly appointed members in attendance at the meeting where the action is considered, providing a quorum is present. A quorum shall consist of at least two-thirds each of federal and state judge members.

7. Committees

There shall be a standing executive committee, consisting of the chair, the vice-chair, and four other voting members of the Council appointed by the chair to serve for the duration of the chair’s term of office. Three members of the executive committee shall be federal judges and three members shall be state judges.

The executive committee or Council may authorize and appoint additional standing or special committees.

8. Amendments

This charter may be amended at any time by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Council.

Adopted this ____ day of _____________, 20___. 


For the state judiciary:


For the federal judiciary:



This sample form is part of Federal and State Court Cooperation, a Special Topic Webpage.