Government Law Center Aims to Improve Communications Between New York Courts, Legislature, Governor

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The Government Law Center (GLC) at Albany Law School is launching the Improving Interbranch Communication Project to bridge gaps between New York’s Courts and the state's Executive and Legislative branches.

When courts issue interpretations of statutory and/or regulatory text the Government Law Center leverages its expertise to inform the Governor’s Office and Legislators about the interpretations and explain them in a concise, non-partisan, plain-text, explainer-style memo which includes:

  • Name and citation of the case
  • Decision date
  • Court that issued the decision
  • Practical effect of the Court’s interpretation of the law in question
  • Area of law affected (labor, tax, criminal, etc.)
  • Text of the provision(s) interpreted
  • Action taken by the court
  • Any additional analysis
  • Possibility of further appeals

“With this information from the GLC, lawmakers can decide if the language in the statute should be adjusted to ensure it’s being interpreted as it was originally intended,” said Patrick A. Woods ‘12 who is the Deputy Director of the Government Law Center.

The center delivered its first ten of these memos across the state this week.

The creation of the memos is initiated either by Albany Law School students working in the GLC, who review all Appellate Division and Court of Appeals decisions to identify relevant cases, or by reviewing decisions submitted to the GLC by the New York State courts.

Judges interested in submitting new decisions that involve novel issues of statutory or regulatory interpretation and questions about the project can be sent to interbranchcommunication@albanylaw.edu.

The project is inspired by the Statutory Opinion Transmission Project, a federal program devised by the late Hon. Robert A. Katzmann and Russell R. Wheeler in the early 1990s—and revitalized in 2007—to foster communication between the federal judicial and legislative branches. Learn more about the Statutory Opinion Transmission Project.