For Immediate Release - August 01, 2013

All Court Locations Return to Full Public Office Hours

Approximately 30 Offices with Restricted Hours to Resume Full Schedule

Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey and Court Administrator Harry Spence today announced that all Trial Court offices will return to a full schedule of public hours effective September 3, 2013. All Clerks’ Offices will resume a Monday through Friday schedule of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which are standard hours of operation statewide.

“We are pleased that all public offices across the Trial Court can return to a full schedule as a result of an FY14 appropriation that enables us to stabilize staffing levels,” said Chief Justice Carey. “We thank Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, and Speaker DeLeo for providing the Judiciary with the resources to re-open our Clerks' Offices to the public."

“The funding also will enable the Trial Court to continue modernization efforts that will increase efficiency and improve case processing,” said Court Administrator Spence. “Our recently issued strategic plan identifies many exciting initiatives to enhance the effectiveness of court operations.”

Staffing levels, caseloads and public concerns about extended backlogs compelled the decision to adjust office hours to facilitate case processing in more than 30 court locations, beginning in September 2011. The scheduling of court sessions was not affected by the changes in office hours and access was available for emergency matters. The reduction in counter and telephone hours provided uninterrupted time for staff to prepare cases for court sessions and execute court orders, as well as to complete filing, docketing, scanning and other case processing.

The Trial Court experienced an 18 percent staff reduction during a four-year hiring freeze that began in 2008. The staffing shortages created critical delays in case processing, which required the restricted public hours.  As a result of the Legislature's stabilization of the court budget, the Trial Court began to fill critically-needed positions. In addition to improved staffing, expanded electronic data exchange and other operational efficiencies have enabled the restoration of full operations.