Remote court services

Find helpful information on remote Trial Court services like remote hearings and virtual registries.

Table of Contents

Remote hearing tips

The Massachusetts Bar Association has created an informational video on how remote hearings work. Watch it here: 

Housing Court virtual front counter

Each Housing Court Clerk's Office and Housing Specialist Department is providing a virtual front counter through which court staff will be able to answer questions and assist court users virtually, including by providing information on available court resources. A virtual front counter allows court users to receive "face-to-face" assistance from court staff without being present physically at a courthouse. At this time, the virtual counters in the Housing Court will operate from about 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Below, please see the schedule and access information for each division's respective virtual counters.

Clerk’s Office virtual front counter(s):

Housing Specialist Department virtual front counter(s):

Guided interview for an emergency Civil Complaint form

The guided interview creates an emergency Civil Complaint form, which upon completion can be emailed directly to the respective court.

Probate & Family Court virtual registries

Superior Court protocols and tips for remote hearings

Court Service Centers remote services

Court Service Centers locations are closed to the public until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but remote services are available via Zoom Meeting for emergency cases.

The types of cases that the Court Service Centers are helping with are:

  • 209A Abuse Prevention Orders (restraining orders)
  • 258E Harassment Prevention Orders
  • Commitments (Section 35 and 12)
  • Emergency Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person
  • Emergency Guardianship of Minor
  • Emergency Probate and Family Court filings relating to custody/parenting time/child support 
  • Emergency Modifications of Child Support (varies by county)
  • Housing Temporary Restraining Orders
  • Housing motions to vacate default entered since March 1, 2020
  • Housing motions to vacate a dismissal for failure to appear entered since March 1, 2020
  • Housing motions to stay an execution

If you are facing any of these issues, you can join the daily Zoom Meeting to receive help with legal information, court forms, and referrals to legal and community-based organizations. Before you call, please review what information you will need to receive assistance.

Here is how you can join a Court Service Center through Zoom:

Court Service Centers are available from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. After 12:00 p.m., if you have questions about your current court case or you want to start a new case, please call the Trial Court Help Line or contact your local courthouse.

Law library services

The Trial Court Law Libraries continue to provide services remotely as they have throughout the pandemic.  

At this time, all of the law libraries are open on a  limited basis.  Due to different challenges in the various locations, there will be some variation in terms of services offered.  Some libraries are allowing patron access for circulation purposes only while others are offering onsite use by appointment.   Please contact your local law library to find out the services offered and local courthouse entrance protocol.  

Contact information for the Trial Court law libraries

Trial Court Help Line

The Trial Court has established a Help Line that the public can call to ask general questions about their civil and criminal cases and help them navigate the court system. The Help Line will be staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling 833-91COURT (912-6878). Learn more about how to Get general court information through the Trial Court Help Line

Last updated: August 14, 2020
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