Tennessee Judiciary Releases 2016 Annual Report

January 26, 2017

Below is Chief Justice Jeff Bivins' Annual Report Message, which is available in full here.

2016 Judiciary Annual Report

Every day, the judges of our great state seek to further the pursuit of justice for the citizens of Tennessee.   From the perspective of the individual who finds himself or herself before the court, there is no such thing as a small case.  Indeed, our judges know it is their duty to guarantee that Tennessee’s citizens, regardless of financial status, color, creed, or religion, receive justice and equality before the law. 

Throughout the past year, the court system has continued in that pursuit of justice by striving to make the judiciary more efficient, help those less fortunate receive adequate legal counsel, and provide the best possible services to the citizens of Tennessee.  This report showcases those efforts and much more.  
The poorest Tennesseans continue to be a main priority for the Court, making sure their voices are heard.  We understand that “Justice for All” is not a talking point or something reserved only for those with financial means, but instead, it is our ultimate goal and purpose.  That is why this past year, we set out on a statewide listening tour, listening to the needs in every community, and reviewing how we provide legal counsel to those who cannot afford it.

This year we have also focused on our youngest citizens in Tennessee.  We have adopted uniform best practices and juvenile rules for the entire state so that the same rules are applied consistently to families and children.  In addition, we have streamlined how complex business litigation is resolved through the continuation of a business docket in Davidson County.  As the first pilot program of its kind in Tennessee, we will continue to assess how the utilization of this project can promote efficiency and economic development all across our state.

Finally, we are undergoing a top to bottom review of our technology department and integrating more statistical analysis so that data-driven decisions can be made that are the best for our great state.  

In the coming year, we will continue our endeavor to work hand-in-hand with our counterparts in the executive and legislative branches to maintain the system of checks and balances envisioned by our founders. We have sworn in six new judges this past year, and we know their tasks will be challenging yet worthy of the effort.  As we look with anticipation at the year before us, I am proud of our judiciary and each judge’s tireless devotion to the cause of justice.

-Jeff Bivins, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice