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Differentiated Case Management (DCM)

Rick Dabbs
DCM Coordinator

Location, Phone, Hours of Operation
Location: Montgomery County Circuit Court
North Tower 3rd floor, Rm 3121


Differentiated Case Management (DCM) emerged as a best practice for courts in the early 1990s concurrent with the development of time standards for the resolution of cases by organizations such as the American Bar Association (e.g. ABA Standards). DCM provides a structured and active approach to caseload management to drive the early and appropriate resolution of the 90 percent or more cases that can be resolved without a trial while preserving adjudication time, court and public resources for those cases that require trial. DCM is characterized by the early differentiation of cases entering the justice system in terms of the nature and extent of judicial/justice system resources they will require. Each case is assigned to the appropriate case track established within the court system that allows for the performance of pretrial tasks and allocates the appropriate level of judicial and other system resources, minimizing processing delays. Established mechanisms avoid multiple court appearances and assure the timely provision of resources for the expeditious processing and resolution of cases on each track.

Montgomery County was the first jurisdiction in Maryland to develop DCM, beginning with the criminal caseload nearly twenty years ago. Drawing on the expertise of justice system stakeholders, the Circuit Court led the development of protocols for tracking cases based on type and level of complexity, with meaningful DCM events designed to ensure that cases progressed toward resolution or trial held at key junctures and services, such as ADR, made available as integral component of caseload management. Family and juvenile DCM plans were developed to coincide with the creation of specialized family dockets in 1998 and with the transfer of the juvenile court to the Circuit Court in 2002. For over a decade, Montgomery County led the state in the timely disposition of cases and served as a model for other Maryland as well as out-of-state jurisdictions.

By 2009, however, it had become clear that a systematic review of the Court’s DCM plans was needed to address their diminishing effectiveness in achieving the timely resolution of cases. In November 2009, Working Groups focusing on the Civil and Criminal caseloads were convened by the Honorable John W. Debelius III, Administrative Judge, to identify sources of delay and develop recommendations for the adjustment of DCM timelines, procedures and policies to encourage early settlement and restore timeliness and predictability to these caseloads. The resulting revised Civil and Criminal DCM Plans presented on this webpage were developed with the assistance of the Montgomery County Circuit Court bench, leading practitioners in the Maryland bar representing both plaintiffs and defendants, and other key justice system stakeholders, including the Clerk of the Court, and represents their consensus recommendations to ensure the timely and appropriate resolution of criminal and civil cases. Working groups to review the Family and Juvenile caseloads will be convened in late summer 2010 with revised DCM plans anticipated by January 2011.


The majority of cases filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court are categorized as Criminal, Civil, Family, or Juvenile cases. Within each of these categories are a variety of types of cases:

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(Revised:10-17-11) * SAMPLE FORECLOSURE SCREENING SHEETS (Maryland Rule 14-207.1)


Foreclosure Screening Sheet Post July 1 2010 Foreclosure Screening Sheet Post July 1 2010 () (Revised 10-17-11)


Foreclosure Screening Sheet Pre July 1 2010 Foreclosure Screening Sheet Pre July 1 2010 ()

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Montgomery County Circuit Court
50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM