MA ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION UPDATE – March 16, 2020

MASSACHUSETTS ACCESS TO JUSTICE COMMISSION

March 16, 2020

UPDATE

 

Greetings:

We want to make sure you are aware that the Massachusetts Trial Court has announced a range of measures to reduce the number of people coming into state courts to take effect on Wednesday, March 18.  

Please also note that the Trial Courts are closed to the public on March 16th and 17th: https://www.mass.gov/alerts/trial-courts-closed-to-the-public-monday-and-tuesday-march-16-and-17-2020

Detailed information and links to more information are located in the Massachusetts Trial Court’s March 14, 2020 Press Release: https://www.mass.gov/news/trial-court-announces-triage-plans-to-reduce-numbers-of-persons-coming-to-courts

Each Trial Court department has issued a Standing Order.  All Standing Orders are available on the Trial Court website: https://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19

Please note the following (a non-exhaustive list):

  • Empanelments in jury trials in both criminal and civil cases are postponed until no earlier than April 21, 2020. The order does not affect any case in which a jury has already been empaneled or where a jury has been selected for empanelment; such cases will proceed through verdict.
  • No new grand juries will be empaneled before April 21, 2020, and grand juries whose terms expire on or before April 21, 2020 will be extended until that date.
  • Civil matters in the District Courts and the Boston Municipal Court scheduled for an in-court event, including but not limited, to small claims trials and administrative reviews, between March 18th and May 1, 2020 shall be continued to the first business day no less than 60 days from the scheduled event, or by a date agreed to by parties, but not before May 4, 2020.

     All new civil matters shall be entered, but no court event will be scheduled before May 1, 2020.

  • In Housing Court, all non-emergency summary process (eviction) hearings shall be continued to a date no earlier than April 21, 2020. Any default judgment entered between March 1, 2020 and April 21, 2020 shall be vacated, upon motion.
  • Specific modifications have been made in Probate and Family Court. Please see the Standing Order for more details.
  • Emergency matters, such as requests for restraining orders, harassment prevention orders, emergency petitions, and mental health proceedings, will proceed as normal. Specialty Court sessions will continue to be held at this time.

Please make sure to read the entire press release and Standing Orders from the Supreme Judicial Court and the seven Trial Court Departments on the court’s website: https://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19