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Administrative Office of the United States Courts

One Columbus Circle NE., Washington, DC 20544


Deputy DirectorLee Ann Bennett

Associate Directors

Associate Directors
Administrative ServicesJames R. Baugher
Program ServicesMary Louise Mitterhoff
Technology ServicesJoseph R. Peters, Jr.


Defender ServicesCait T. Clarke
Judicial Conference SecretariatKatherine H. Simon
Judicial IntegrityJill Langley
Legislative AffairsDavid T. Best
Public AffairsDavid A. Sellers
General CounselSheryl L. Walter

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


On August 7, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Public Law 76–299, which provided "for the administration of the United States courts" (53 Stat. 1223). The new statute included an effective date: 90 days after its approval by the President (53 Stat. 1226). On November 6, 1939, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) was established.

On June 25, 1948, President Harry S. Truman approved Public Law 80–773, which "revised, codified, and enacted into law" 28 U.S.C. The law provided for the annual summoning of the chief judges of the judicial circuits by the Chief Justice of the United States to the newly named Judicial Conference of the United States, at which the Chief Justice presides (62 Stat. 902). It also described the general duties of the AOUSC Director, who serves as "the administrative officer of the courts, and under the supervision and direction of the Judicial Conference of the United States" (62 Stat. 914).

The Chief Justice of the United States, after consultation with the Judicial Conference, appoints the Director and Deputy Director of the AOUSC.


Codified statutory material on the "Judiciary and Judicial Procedure" has been assigned to 28 U.S.C. Part III, which deals with court officers and employees, comprises chapters 41–58.

"Chapter 41—Administrative Office of United States Courts," which comprises sections 601–613, has been assigned to 28 U.S.C.


The AOUSC provides a range of administrative, financial, legal, legislative, management, technology, and program support services to Federal courts. Judicial Conference committees, with input from the courts, advise the AOUSC as it develops the annual judiciary budget for approval by the U.S. Congress and the President. The AOUSC also carries out Judicial Conference policies. Providing staff support and counsel to the Judicial Conference and its committees is a primary responsibility of the AOUSC.

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.


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.

Probation / Pretrial Services

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.


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

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that Administrative Office records have been assigned to record group 116.

Business Opportunities

The Federal Acquisition Regulation does not apply to procurement within the Federal judiciary. Judiciary procurement policies are the responsibility of the Procurement Management Division within the Administrative Office and are issued in the "Guide to Judiciary Policy" (volume 14—Procurement).

Career Opportunities

To help carry out its mission, the Federal Judiciary relies on attorneys, interpreters, information technology experts, probation officers, and other skilled professionals.

Contact Information

Postal correspondence should be sent to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, One Columbus Circle NE., Washington, DC 20544. The "Contact Us" web page also allows online visitors to send an electronic message.

eJuror Program

The national eJuror program allows a potential juror to respond online to his or her jury qualification questionnaire. Using the eJuror service, a potential juror may revise personal information, check when he or she needs to report for jury service, submit a request for an excuse or deferral, and select an alternate time to serve.

Electronic Filing

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

Email Updates

A subscriber receives notifications by email when new information is available, including news, newsletters, specific website content, and other alerts.

Federal Courts

The Federal court finder search tool allows online visitors to find a Federal court by location or court name, including appellate, bankruptcy, district, probation, and pretrial office, or Federal defender organization.

Federal Register

Documents that the Administrative Office published in the Federal Register are accessible online.


National Federal court forms are accessible online. National court forms can be used in all Federal courts. Each Federal court also maintains its own local court forms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to FAQs on the Federal Judiciary are available online.


A glossary of legal terms is available online.

A glossary of common legal terms is also available in the 50-page publication "Understanding the Federal Courts," starting on page 29.

Judicial Vacancies

Judicial vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Supreme Court are posted online.

Law Day

"Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19th Amendment at 100" is the theme of Law Day 2020.


Judiciary news is available online.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)

The online PACER service allows account holders to search and locate appellate, district, and bankruptcy court case and docket information. A person may register for an account, using the "Find a Case (PACER)" web page.


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.

Social Media

The Administrative Office tweets announcements and other newsworthy items on Twitter.

The Administrative Office posts videos on its YouTube channel.

Statistical Data

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

Understanding Federal Courts

The AOUSC developed the 50-page publication "Understanding the Federal Courts" as an introduction to the Federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the Government. The publication is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.

The Sources of Information were updated 8–2020.