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Administrative Office of the United States Courts

One Columbus Circle NE., Washington, DC 20544


DIRECTOR James C. Duff
Deputy Director Lee Ann Bennett

Associate Directors

Associate Directors
Administrative Services James R. Baugher
Program Services Mary Louise Mitterhoff
Technology Services Joseph R. Peters, Jr.


Judicial Conference Secretariat Katherine H. Simon
Legislative Affairs David T. Best
Public Affairs David A. Sellers
General Counsel Sheryl L. Walter

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts supports and serves the nonjudicial, administrative business of the United States Courts.

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts was created by act of August 7, 1939 (28 U.S.C. 601). It was established on November 6, 1939. The Chief Justice of the United States, after consultation with the Judicial Conference, appoints the Director and Deputy Director of the Administrative Office.

Administering the Courts

The Director is the administrative officer of the courts of the United States—except of the Supreme Court. Under the guidance of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Director supervises all administrative matters relating to the offices of clerks and other clerical and administrative personnel of the courts; examines the state of the dockets of the courts, secures information as to the courts' need of assistance, and prepares statistical data and reports each quarter and transmits them to the chief judges of the circuits; submits an activities report of the Administrative Office and the courts' state of business to the annual meeting of the Judicial Conference of the United States; fixes the compensation of court employees whose compensation is not otherwise fixed by law; regulates and pays annuities to widows and surviving dependent children of judges; disburses moneys appropriated for the maintenance and operation of the courts; examines accounts of court officers; regulates travel of judicial personnel; provides accommodations and supplies for the courts and their clerical and administrative personnel; establishes and maintains programs for the certification and utilization of court interpreters and the provision of special interpretation services in the courts; and performs such other duties as may be assigned by the Supreme Court or the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The Director also prepares and submits the budget of the courts, which the Office of Management and Budget transmits to Congress without change.

Probation Officers

The Administrative Office exercises general supervision of the accounts and practices of the Federal probation offices, which are subject to primary control by the respective district courts that they serve. The Administrative Office publishes, in cooperation with the Department of Justice's Bureau of Prisons, the "Federal Probation Journal." This online, quarterly publication presents current thought, research, and practice in corrections, community supervision, and criminal justice.

In accordance with the Pretrial Services Act of 1982 (18 U.S.C. 3152), the Director establishes pretrial services in the district courts. The offices of these district courts report information on pretrial release of persons charged with Federal offenses and supervise such persons who are released to their custody.


According to the Bankruptcy Amendments and Federal Judgeship Act of 1984 (28 U.S.C. 151), the bankruptcy judges for each judicial district constitute a unit of the district court known as the bankruptcy court. The courts of appeals appoint bankruptcy judges in such numbers as authorized by Congress. These judges serve for a term of 14 years as judicial officers of the district courts.

This act placed jurisdiction in the district courts over all cases under title 11, United States Code, and all proceedings arising in or related to cases under that title (28 U.S.C. 1334). The district court may refer such cases and proceedings to its bankruptcy judges (as authorized by 28 U.S.C. 157).

The Director of the Administrative Office recommends to the Judicial Conference the duty stations of bankruptcy judges and the places they hold court, surveys the need for additional bankruptcy judgeships to be recommended to Congress, and determines the staff needs of bankruptcy judges and the clerks of the bankruptcy courts.

Federal Magistrate Judges

The Director of the Administrative Office exercises general supervision over administrative matters in offices of U.S. magistrate judges, compiles and evaluates statistical data relating to such offices, and submits reports thereon to the Judicial Conference. The Director reports annually to Congress on the business that has come before U.S. magistrate judges and also prepares legal and administrative manuals for the magistrate judges. In compliance with the act, the Administrative Office conducts surveys of the conditions in the judicial districts to make recommendations as to the number, location, and salaries of magistrate judges. The Judicial Conference then determines their number, location, and salaries, subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Federal Defenders

The Criminal Justice Act (18 U.S.C. 3006A) establishes the procedure for the appointment of private panel attorneys in Federal criminal cases for individuals who are unable to afford adequate representation, under plans adopted by each district court. The act also permits the establishment of Federal public defender or Federal community defender organizations by the district courts in districts where at least 200 persons annually require the appointment of counsel. Two adjacent districts may be combined to reach this total.

Each defender organization submits to the Director of the Administrative Office an annual report of its activities along with a proposed budget or, in the case of community defender organizations, a proposed grant for the coming year. The Director is responsible for the submission of the proposed budgets and grants to the Judicial Conference for approval. The Director also makes payments to the defender organizations out of appropriations in accordance with the approved budgets and grants, as well as compensating private counsel appointed to defend criminal cases in the United States courts.

Sources of Information

Budget, Accounting, and Procurement

Phone, 202-502-2000.

Court Services

Phone, 202-502-1500.

Defender Services

Phone, 202-502-3030.

Educational Resources

Learning resources for students are available online.

Electronic Filing

Attorneys and others may submit files online using the Federal courts' Case Management and Electronic Case Files system.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to FAQs on the Federal Judiciary are available online.

General Counsel

Phone, 202-502-1100.


A glossary of legal terms is available online.

Human Resources

Phone, 202-502-3100.

Judicial Conference Executive Secretariat

Phone, 202-502-2400.

Judicial Services

Phone, 202-502-1800.

Judiciary Reporting and Analysis

Phone, 202-502-1440.

Legislative Affairs

Phone, 202-502-1700.

Probation and Pretrial Services

Phone, 202-502-1600.

Public Affairs

Phone, 202-502-2600.


The Federal judiciary and Administrative Office produce publications for the Congress, the public, and others to educate and inform about the work of the courts.

Statistical Data

Statistical data on the business of the Federal Judiciary are available online.

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