The Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk, also known as the single justice session, is that part of the court's business in which an associate justice essentially acts as a trial judge, as was the function of the first justices, or as an administrator of the court's supervisory power under G.L. c. 211, §3. The county court has original, concurrent, interlocutory and appellate jurisdiction conferred by the Massachusetts Constitution, statues, rules of court and case law. Practice before the single justice is governed by the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, SJC Rules 2:21 and 2:22, and pertinent Standing Orders.

Among the most common matters received are petitions filed pursuant to GL c. 25, §5 (public utility appeal), GL c 112, §64 (board of registration appeal), GL c. 156B, §99 (dissolution of deadlocked corporation), GL c. 180, §11A (dissolution of not-for-profit charitable corporation), GL c. 211, §3 (superintendence), GL 214, §1 (equity), 1 GL 231, §1 (declaratory judgment), GL c. 233, §20E (witness immunity), GL 249, §4 (certiorari), GL 276, §58 (bail review), GL c. 278, §28E and Mass.R.Crim. P. 15(a)(2) (interlocutory appeal), and GL c 278, §33E (gatekeeper).

Single Justice Practice and Procedure

Click here for basic information about single justice practice and procedure, the responsibilities of the clerk and assistant clerks, and how to file a single justice case. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the fee for filing a Single Justice matter?

The fee is a non-refundable check made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $315.00.

2. Can the filing fee be waived?

Yes. The filing fee can be waived upon a showing of indigency. You must file a motion to waive the fee and an affidavit in support of the motion.

3. How many copies do you require?

Only the original document is required.

4. What are the service requirements?

A certificate of service reflecting the mode of service is required for all papers filed. In original actions, the clerk will accept a certificate of service for complaints. A summons, available for $.50, is not required.

5. Do you conduct telephone hearings?

Yes. For the convenience of the parties in distant venues or in emergent situations, a hearing by telephone is available.

6. Do you accept papers by fax?  

Yes. In emergent situations, the clerk's office will accept papers by fax. However, it is required that the original papers be filed with the clerk's office.


Maura S. Doyle, Clerk
Supreme Judicial Court for The County of Suffolk
John Adams Courthouse, 1st Floor
One Pemberton Square, Suite 1300
Boston, MA 02108-1707
Phone: 617-557-1100
Fax: 617-557-1117
Hours: Weekdays (except holidays), 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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