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Bar News - May 4, 2007

New Hampshire Supreme Court Case Filings 2003-2006


In 2003, the final year of discretionary review, the court accepted 41 percent of cases filed and disposed of 59 percent of cases after screening. Because most cases were disposed of after screening, the time period from filing to disposition was fairly short.


The largely mandatory appeal process began with appeals filed in 2004. Under this process, most appeals of state trial court decisions are automatically accepted for review, and parties are given the opportunity to file briefs and the trial court record. After briefs have been filed in a case, the court reviews the briefs and other case materials to decide whether the case should be scheduled for oral argument.                  


After any oral argument, the court issues a final decision. Because most cases are no longer disposed of at the time of screening, the mandatory process of review has lengthened the time that cases are pending, and this led, initially, to a decrease in the number of case dispositions. As cases filed under the mandatory process matured, the number of cases disposed of has increased, and in 2005 and 2006, the number of cases disposed of by dispositions was slightly less than the number of cases filed. On an ongoing basis, the court’s goal is to dispose of approximately the same number of cases each year as the number of cases filed.



NH Supreme Court Cases 2003-2006


                                                            2003                       2004                       2005                       2006


Cases Filed                                       842                         898                         938                         953

Cases Accepted                               347                         645                         733                         673


Oral arguments:

Full court                                          193                         182                         138                         174

3JX                                        80                           95                           91                           88

Total                                                  273                         277                         229                         262


Case Dispositions                           893                         721                         884                         879


Disposition rate                              106.06%                80.28%                  94.24%                  92.24%



Cases pending at year-end            338                         523                         671                         745


The table above shows the number of cases filed, accepted, and disposed of for the calendar years from 2003-2006.


This information, provided by the NH Supreme Court, was included in the New Hampshire Bar Association Continuing Legal Education publication: “Supreme Court Judicial Forum,” for the 2007 Midyear Meeting CLE held on Feb. 15, 2007.


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