As appellate practitioners are all too well aware, the Appellate Division, Second Department, has a significant backlog of perfected civil appeals awaiting calendaring.  Lamenting the causes will not solve the problem, though it is important to stress how hard the justices of the Court, and our dedicated non-judicial staff, work day-in and day-out.

Despite their efforts, it can take as long as 18 months for a civil appeal to obtain a place on the court’s day calendar and then more time for a decision to be rendered.  We have an obligation to meet this problem head-on and to overcome it.  It is vital that attorneys and their clients receive appellate justice without undue delay, recognizing as well that delays at the appellate level can cascade into delays in the trial courts. But reducing delays must be achieved without compromising the careful consideration that our Court devotes to each matter that comes before us and the high quality of the decisions rendered.  The Excellence Initiative, so compellingly championed by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, must embrace and must be embraced by, all of the state’s courts.

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