Court Operations During the Pandemic
Massachusetts state courts are adapting to continue to conduct business during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Courts are still handling emergency matters, but are doing so “virtually,” that is, by telephone, videoconference, email, the electronic filing system, and other electronic means. Trial Court departments will also be providing guidance to the public regarding categories of non-emergency matters that they will attempt to address virtually, where it is practicable to do so.
Courthouses are closed to the public, except for emergency matters that cannot be resolved virtually.
Contact & Other Court-Specific Information
Each court has issued orders and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) identifying the matters they are handling, how they are conducting business, and how you can contact them for help during the pandemic.
Trial Court Departments: For help, contact the clerk’s, register’s, or recorder’s office for the trial court you are interested in. You can look up the courthouse that serves your town or county on the Courthouse Locator page. Telephone numbers and email addresses are at the top of every courthouse page. You can also call the Trial Court Help Line at 1-833-91COURT. Click here to find a list of clerks' offices email addresses.
Follow these links to find the COVID-19 orders and FAQs for each:
- Boston Municipal Court
- District Court
- Housing Court
- Juvenile Court
- Land Court
- Probate & Family Court
- Superior Court
- Trial Court
Massachusetts Probation Service: Probation Officers will contact directly all pretrial defendants and sentenced probationers on their caseloads and provide individual direct contact numbers for calls and texts. Click here to find COVID-19 postings by MPS.
Appeals Court: For emergency matters requiring immediate attention, send an email to MACClerkEmergency@jud.state.ma.us or leave a detailed message at 617-723-1527. Any filings, emergency or routine, may be submitted at eFileMA.com.
Click here to find COVID-19 orders and FAQs for the Appeals Court.
Supreme Judicial Court: For help with matters before the full court, contact the Clerk’s Office for the Commonwealth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-557-1020.
For matters in the single justice session, contact the Clerk’s Office for the County of Suffolk at email@example.com or call 617-557-1100.
For emergency matters requiring immediate attention, call the Clerks’ COVID-19 temporary emergency line at 857-275-8036.
Click here to find the COVID-19 orders and FAQs for the Supreme Judicial Court.
All jury trials, both civil and criminal, are postponed until at least July 1, 2020.
All non-jury trials, both civil and criminal, are postponed until at least June 1, 2020, except for non-jury trials that can be conducted virtually by agreement of the parties and the court. Supreme Judicial Court updated order regarding court operations under the exigent circumstances created by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic
Expiration dates and deadlines extended
- If a restraining order, injunction, or similar order was issued before March 17, 2020, after a hearing where the defendant appeared and had a chance to be heard, or failed to appear, that order remains in effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
- All statutes of limitations are tolled from March 17, 2020 through May 31, 2020.
- All deadlines in statutes or court rules, standing orders, tracking orders, or guidelines that expired or will expire between March 16, 2020 and June 1, 2020, are tolled until June 1, 2020, unless otherwise ordered by the applicable court. The same is true for all deadlines established by a court in a particular case on or before March 16, 2020, that expired or will expire between March 16, 2020 and June 1, 2020. For instructions on calculating the new deadline, see paragraph 12 of the following order: Supreme Judicial Court updated order regarding court operations under the exigent circumstances created by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Probation termination dates are not tolled by these provisions.
Electronic signatures and service of documents; video depositions
- In cases governed by Rule 5(b) of the Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure and Mass. Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure, documents may be served by email upon an attorney of record, or upon a self-represented party if the self-represented party consents in writing. Supreme Judicial Court Order concerning email service in cases under Rule 5(b) of Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure; Probate and Family Court Standing Order 4-20: Order concerning email service in cases under Rule 5 (b) of the Massachusetts Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure
- Attorneys or self-represented parties may electronically sign documents, unless the court specifically orders otherwise. Supreme Judicial Court Order authorizing use of electronic signatures by attorneys and self-represented parties
- Judges and clerks may electronically sign court orders, judgments, and notifications. Supreme Judicial Court Order concerning electronic signatures of judges and clerks
- Deposition testimony may be taken and oaths administered via audio-visual technology. Supreme Judicial Court Order for the administering of oaths at depositions via remote audio-video