Cuts imposed on the courts in the new state budget are “unprecedented” and will do “great harm” to the system, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman yesterday told judges and court employees in a Web address. “The most painful cuts, I regret to say, will be in the continued reduction of our already depleted work force. While we have not yet determined the exact number of court system layoffs that will be necessary, it will undoubtedly be a very significant number across the broad range of administrative and court operations.”

Watch Judge Lippman’s address.

Judge Lippman has said that “hundreds” of layoffs may be necessary to help the courts meet $170 million in spending reductions imposed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers in the 2011-12 state budget (NYLJ, March 29).

Judge Lippman said in his nine-minute address yesterday that only four times in the past 15 years have the Judiciary’s spending requests been cut. He said reductions in those four years averaged about 1 percent. The $170 million cut in the current fiscal year represents a 6.3 percent reduction, he said.