Associate Chief Utah Supreme Court Justice I. Daniel Stewart told Salt Lake attorneys Wednesday that Utah's appellate system "will not be surpassed by any judiciary in the country in terms of efficiency" by the end of the 1989.

Stewart, who is completing his 10th year on the Supreme Court bench, said there was a backlog when he took the bench and there is still a backlog. But during the interim, Utahns have approved and funded the Utah Court of Appeals, which has been tremendously helpful in eliminating court delay, he said.At one time the appellate backlog was more than 1,000 cases, but it has now been reduced to well under 500 cases, Stewart said.

"We have the intention and every hope of reducing to that to what would be the minimum by the end of the year," he said.

"We are making good progress."

The justice reported that the Court of Appeals caseload is current now, and the Supreme Court hopes to be current soon.

"It's truly a rare court jurisdiction that can claim that. We are very much on track in that direction" Stewart said.

Stewart was the guest speaker of the Salt Lake County Bar.