Remote/virtual court services

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

Table of Contents

Guide to remote hearings

Because of COVID-19, many court hearings are now remote. That means some or all of the people participate by video or phone. Please see Guide to virtual hearings to learn how to prepare for a remote hearing. The Massachusetts Bar Association has also created an informational video on how remote hearings work.

Housing Court virtual front counter

Each Housing Court Clerk's Office and Housing Specialist Department is providing a virtual front counter where court staff will be able to answer questions, help court users virtually, and provide information on available court resources. Court users can receive "face-to-face" assistance from court staff without being present physically at a courthouse. Virtual counters in the Housing Court will operate from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please see the schedule and access information for each division's respective virtual counters below

Clerk’s Office virtual front counters:

Housing Specialist Department virtual front counters:

Guided interview for an emergency Civil Complaint form

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

Land Court virtual recorder's office

Beginning Monday, August 31, 2020, court users can receive virtual face-to-face front counter assistance from Land Court Recorder’s Office staff while remaining in the safety of their own homes or offices. The Land Court Virtual Recorder’s Office will operate from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (except legal holidays).

The Virtual Recorder’s Office uses Zoom to hold video conferences. Court users can connect and conduct business directly with Recorder’s Office personnel online by clicking on the following link: Virtual Recorder’s Office

To learn more, please see the page Land Court Virtual Recorder's Office.

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 COVID-19, but remote services are available for emergency cases via Zoom Meetings.

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.

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 during COVID-19.  

At this time, all law libraries are open on a limited basis. Due to challenges in the various locations, different services will be offered at different locations. Some libraries allow patrons to visit for circulation purposes only, while others allow you to visit onsite by appointment. Please contact your local law library to find out which services are offered and to learn about local courthouse entrance protocol.

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: September 15, 2020
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