Press Release

Press Release Courts Continue Emergency-Only Operations

For immediate release:
  • Massachusetts Court System
  • Executive Office of the Trial Court
  • Boston Municipal Court
  • District Court
  • Housing Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Land Court
  • Probate and Family Court

Media Contact for Courts Continue Emergency-Only Operations

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAGovernor Charlie Baker today issued an order minimizing non-essential activities outside of home for effect on Tuesday, March 24 at noon. Section 4a of the Order confirms that it does not apply to the Judiciary. 

As detailed in a Supreme Judicial Court Order and Trial Court Standing Orders issued on March 17, 2020, courts continue to operate on an emergency-only basis. Courts are closed to the public except to address emergency matters. Whenever possible, these emergency matters, such as restraining orders and juvenile protection cases, are being conducted by telephone or videoconference. 

Court leaders are coordinating emergency staffing levels and Court Officers are ensuring public and staff safety through a variety of measures. Court Officers are working at entrances to courthouses and screening the public for those emergency matters that cannot be handled by telephone or videoconference. Courts have created designated six-foot distance boundaries from any counters. Facilities are cleaned thoroughly each day with industrial cleaning supplies.  

All updates regarding the court system's response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the court's website:


Media Contact for Courts Continue Emergency-Only Operations

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.

Executive Office of the Trial Court 

The Executive Office of the Trial Court facilitates communication and enables joint leadership of the Trial Court by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator.

Boston Municipal Court 

The Boston Municipal Court Department serves the City of Boston, and handles both criminal and civil matters.

District Court 

The District Court Department hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases.

Housing Court 

The Housing Court hears eviction cases, small claims cases, and civil actions involving personal injury, property damage, breach of contract, discrimination, and other claims. The Housing Court also hears code enforcement actions and appeals of local zoning board decisions that affect residential housing. The Housing court is led by Chief Justice Timothy F. Sullivan and Deputy Court Administrator Benjamin O. Adeyinka. The Housing Court has 15 judges and covers all fourteen counties of the Commonwealth. The Housing Court has 6 divisions: Central, Eastern, Metro South, Northeast, Southeast, and Western.

Juvenile Court 

The Juvenile Court Department oversees civil and criminal matters statewide involving children including youthful offender, care and protection, and delinquency cases.

Land Court 

The Land Court oversees land registration, hears cases involving decisions by local planning boards and zoning boards of appeal, and handles most other property matters. It also has superintendence authority over the registered land offices in each Registry of Deeds. There are 7 Land Court justices, including Chief Justice Gordon H. Piper.

Probate and Family Court 

The Probate and Family Court Department handles matters involving families and children, like divorce, child support, and wills.

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