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National Conference of Specialized Court Judges

Franklin N. Flaschner Award


Eligibility Rules


The selection of the nation’s outstanding judge in a special and limited jurisdiction shall be in accordance with these rules set forth under the Judicial Division National Conference of Specialized Court Judges.

The recipient shall possess the high ideals, personal character and competence in performing judicial duties that were exemplified by the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner of the District Court of Massachusetts and, like him, shall have made significant contributions on local, state, tribal, national or international levels to continuing education of the judiciary and  improved the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction.


  1. Consideration of nominees for the Franklin N. Flaschner Award shall be commenced upon the filing, by a person other than the candidate, of a written nomination in the form prescribed by the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges Awards Committee
  2. A nominee for this award shall have completed at least seven (7) consecutive years as a law-trained full-time trial judge in a court with special and limited jurisdiction. Retired special jurisdiction judges, those serving in senior status or by assignment are also eligible for consideration for this award.
  3. As used in these rules, the word "judge" includes a person who, during part or all of judicial service, was a "Justice," “Hearing Officer,” "Commissioner."  It does not include "Referee," "Clerk," "Administrator," "Court Executive," "Administrative Officer," "Conciliator," "Mediator," or "Arbitrator."  However, a senior status or retired judge or judge who sits by assignment and also practices as a mediator or arbitrator is not excluded from consideration for the award.
  4. As used in these rules, "full-time" relates to judicial service. A court with "special and limited jurisdiction" is a tribal, state, federal or international court or tribunal exercising specialized jurisdiction. Examples include city, municipal, county, common pleas, district (in certain states), justice, civil with a monetary jurisdictional limit, probate, tax, tribal, family, juvenile criminal. Veterans Treatment, drug, homeless, human trafficking, domestic violence, military or other specialized docket or court. A judge who serves in a specialized docket as well as hearing felony cases may be considered. That such a court is a unit, division, subdivision or department of a unified or consolidated trial court that has unlimited jurisdiction does not bar a nominee from consideration for the award, provided that over fifty (50) percent of his or her judicial service during each of the "seven (7) consecutive years" has been in handling the kinds of matters that are heard in one or more of the types of courts listed in the immediate preceding sentence.
  5. The following categories of judges are considered not to have "special and limited jurisdiction" as that phrase is used in the rules; hence they are not eligible for the Flaschner Award:

    Federal or state appellate judges; judges of a U.S. District Court, U.S. Court of Claims or state court of claims, U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, U.S. Court of International Trade, or U.S. Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals; federal or state administrative law judges.
  6. The nominee shall have an excellent reputation for possessing the following qualities in professional and private life:

    Sense of humor
    Patience in court
    Intellectual courage
    Diligence in performance of judicial duties
    Punctuality in court
    Decisiveness in judicial rulings
    Sound judgment
    Knowledge of the law
    Adherence to professional ethics
    Avoidance of improprieties
  7. The nominee also shall have made significant contributions on local, tribal, state, or international levels to continuing education of the judiciary and in other ways improved the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction.
  8. The National Conference of Specialized Court Judges occasionally may revise or amend these rules without notice to any nominator, nominee, or other person. The NCSCJ Awards Committee may also grant an exception to any limiting condition contained in these criteria for the award for a nominee who, in the opinion of a majority of the NCSCJ Awards Committee, otherwise qualifies for the award and deserves recognition. Any change that would adversely affect a nomination which the Board has begun to consider shall not be implemented while that nomination is pending.


Nominations for the 2024 Franklin N. Flaschner Award are due March 18, 2024.

The original application may be mailed to the address below, OR sent electronically to the email shown:

NCSCJ Awards
ABA Judicial Division
321 North Clark Street, 18th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654
T: 312-988-5122
[email protected]

Questions? Call 312-988-5122 or [email protected]