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Constitutional Role and Historical Background

In addition to the Supreme Court's constitutional and statutory role as an appellate court, the New Hampshire Constitution,  pt. II, art. 73-a,  places on the Supreme Court the responsibility for the administration of all courts in the State. The text of the article provides that the Chief Justice shall be the administrative head of all courts and that, with the concurrence of a majority of the Supreme Court justices, the Chief Justice shall make rules governing the administration of all courts in the State, which shall have the force and effect of law.

In 1983, the legislature created a State-funded unified court system, thereby eliminating the mixture of municipal, county, and State funding of the judiciary that existed from the adoption of the State Constitution in 1784.   As a result of this change, the Supreme Court's administrative responsibility was increased significantly.

Under the unified court system, the Supreme Court is responsible for the creation and administration of a uniform classification and compensation system for all non-judicial court personnel, and the preparation and administration of court budgets statewide. The Supreme Court is responsible for the preparation and submission of the Judicial Branch budget to the legislature.