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About The Massachusetts Court System

Massachusetts State Courts

Federal Courts in Massachusetts

Court Rules


Selected Reports

Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Trial Court Administrative Employees, SJC Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch, August 9, 2011.

Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Employees of the Trial Court Recorder, Clerks and Registers of Probate, SJC Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch, November 8, 2011.

Best Practices in the Use of Technology to Facilitate Access to Justice Initiatives: Preliminary Report, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, July 30, 2010. Report was requested to "help evaluate the ways that technology could facilitate access to justice, and to help prepare a set of best practices, strategic plans and recommendations for deploying that technology in the Massachusetts Trial Court."

Enhancing the Delivery of Quality Justice: Report on the Access and Fairness Survey Project, Administrative Office of the Trial Court, May 2009.

Final Report of the Supreme Judicial Court on Hiring in the Judicial Branch, Scott Harshbarger, Chair, December, 2011.

Massachusetts Trial Court Staffing Study, National Center for State Courts, 2005.

Massachusetts Trial Court Strategic Plan, June 2013.

The Report of the Chief Justice's Commission on the Future of the Courts - Reinventing Justice 2022, 1992.

Report of the Independent Counsel [on the Massachusetts Probation Department] (The Ware Report), November 9, 2010. See Also, Statement of the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court Relative to the Report of the Independent Counsel.

Report of the Massachusetts Court Management Advisory Board: Legislative Action Required to Achieve Managerial Excellence in the Trial Courts, CMAB, March 2010. Recommends significant structural changes to the Mass. court system.

Report of the Study Committee on Trial Transcripts, Submitted to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, June 30, 2003.

Report of the Work Group on Cost and Time Efficiencies in the Massachusetts Courts, Boston Bar Association, November 15, 2005. "This informal Work Group was formed by the Administration of Justice Section in January 2004 for the purposes of identifying cost and time inefficiencies that currently exist in the handling of state court cases, and exploring whether more efficient attorney and judicial practices might reduce those inefficiencies." "This report sets forth the Work Group's identification of commonly occurring inefficiencies in Superior Court, District Court and Boston Municipal Court cases, as well as recommendations to eliminate or reduce the same."

Report to the Legislature on Court Relocations, August 10, 2011, Mass. Trial Court.

Report to the Supreme Judicial Court [on acquittal rates in DUI cases], R.J. Cinquegrana, October, 2012.

Separate and Secure Waiting Area Task Force Implementation Progress Report, February 3, 2014.

The Visiting Committee on Management in the Courts Report to Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall (the Monan Report), March 2003.

Within Our Reach: Gender, Racial and Ethnic Equality in the Courts, Supreme Judicial Court, March 2004.

About the Courts and Court Procedure

Checklist for Preparation of Brief and Appendix, Mass. Appeals Court. Lists all necessary components with references to court rules for each.

Court Guides, Mass. Department of Revenue, Child Support Enforcement. Details about Child Support hearings in probate and family court in each of the different courts. "Before you go to court, it might be helpful for you to review the information package for the court you are visiting. The court packages contain useful information such as what to bring, what not to bring, what to expect, where to go when you arrive, etc."

Featured Practice Tips from the Superior Court Bench, MCLE. A "series of short video briefings offering practical and sage advice from more than forty active and alumni members of the Massachusetts Superior Court."

Google Mistrials, Twittering Jurors, Juror Blogs and Other Technological Hazards, National Center for State Courts.

A Guide to Public Access, Sealing and Expungement of District Court Records, Mass. District Court, April 2010. Covers access to criminal cases, civil cases, abuse prevention proceedings, mental health cases, juvenile cases, paternity cases and more. Also includes information on the sealing of criminal records, including forms, and the procedure for expungement of criminal records.

Guidelines on the Public's Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records, Mass. Supreme Judicial Court. Developed "to assist you in identifying relevant court rules, statutes and case law covering a variety of issues which relate to judicial proceedings."

Homeless Court Gives Offenders New Start, Office of the Commissioner of Probation. "Homeless people or those who are at risk of losing their homes can clear up their outstanding warrants or have their minor misdemeanor or non-violent cases disposed of in the Homeless Court, the first and only one of its kind in Massachusetts."

Massachusetts Appeals Court Help Center. Includes  Guide to Appeals, Entry of an Appeal, Direct Appellate Review, Further Appellate Review, Motion Practice, Single Justice Practice, Interlocutory Petitions, Motions to Stay Pursuant to RAP 6, Format for Briefs & Appendicies, Oral Arguments, Moffett Filings, Impoundment Procedures, Pilot Project - Docketing Statement.

Massachusetts Court Reform Act of 1978. Chapter 478 of 1978.

Massachusetts Trial Court Policy on Juror Use of Personal Communication Devices, Administrative Office of the Trial Court.

Massachusetts Trial Court Record Retention Schedule, Administrative Office of the Trial Court. Outlines requirements for each court department.

Navigating the Massachusetts Court System, Mass. Lawyer Views. Clear explanation of the structure of the Massachusetts courts.

Policy on Clothing, Cameras and Cellular Telephones, Administrative Office of the Trial Court.

Protection of Personal Information in the Courts, Mass. Supreme Judicial Court. "Interim Guidelines designed to protect against identity theft by having court filers omit or delete certain personal identifying information, such as social security numbers, in criminal and civil court documents."

Serving the Self-Represented Litigant: A Guide by and for Massachusetts Court Staff, June 2010. Includes both general information for all court staff, and specific advice for employees in each court department.

Supreme Judicial Court Style Manual, SJC Office of the Reporter of Decisions, 2014-2015. "The manual may be useful to those preparing appellate briefs."

Understanding the Federal Courts, U.S. Courts. "This publication was developed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to provide an introduction to the federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the government."