When people think of the Supreme Court of Nevada, generally they think of the court’s role in resolving appeals. However, another function of the Court has been to establish both committees and commissions to study and address specific issues and concerns raised both by members of the bar and the community at large. These committees and commissions are taking on a wide variety of tasks, including standardizing court practices and procedures, improving litigants’ access to justice, and improving judicial administration. I take this opportunity to provide an update on three commissions that may be of particular interest.
First, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the state’s court-related business moved to a virtual setting. To best capture what we have learned, the Supreme Court of Nevada established a commission to study the best practices for virtual advocacy. Although the judiciary is striving to return to all in person proceedings, we recognize, as expressed by members of the bar, the value of having the virtual option as an alternative. This commission is currently in the process of evaluating applicable rules to govern the unified use of remote technology in Nevada’s courts. The commission’s goal is to evaluate alternative methods for conducting court business and maintaining litigants’ access to justice.
Second, consistent with this Court’s goal of improving litigants’ access to justice, including ensuring litigants receive timely and efficient resolution of their pending cases, the Supreme Court of Nevada recently formed a committee to study amendments to Nevada’s rules concerning arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and short trials. The committee, in considering amendments to the rules for each of these proceedings, is working with people from across the state including members of the bench, state bar, and public. It is the goal that updates to these rules will help alleviate ever-increasing dockets and improve litigants’ access to justice.
Third, turning to an issue that effects all Nevadans, last spring the Supreme Court of Nevada established a commission to study the adjudication of water law cases. It cannot be emphasized enough the importance of water rights with respect to Nevada’s past, present, and future. Issues concerning water disputes are often complex and require a considerable amount of time and judicial resources. Thus, to ensure efficient, timely, and more consistent resolution of water law matters, the commission is working to improve education, training, and specialization relating to water law cases in the jurisdictions throughout Nevada. The commission’s membership is comprised of individuals from across the state, including experienced professionals, key stakeholders, and members of both the state bar and Nevada’s judiciary. The findings from this commission will help improve the adjudication of water matters throughout Nevada.
These are just three of the many commissions the Supreme Court of Nevada has established to address pressing issues facing our state. So, the next time you think about the role of the Supreme Court of Nevada, remember the committees and commissions the Court is creating to respond to the needs of practitioners, members of the bar, and the public.
About the author
Justice Ron Parraguirre began his third term as Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court in 2022. He has served on the state’s highest court since 2005.
About this article: This article was originally published in the “Environmental Health” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (Apr. 2022). See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2022/communique-april-2022/.
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