News

News Notice to the Bar: Court Seeks Lawyer Response to Judicial Performance Evaluations

3/13/2019
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Probate and Family Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Housing Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

As part of the ongoing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court is now sending questionnaires to attorneys and court employees to evaluate Probate and Family Court, Juvenile Court, and Housing Court Judges in Middlesex and Suffolk Counties. The evaluation period for judges is from mid-March through mid-April. Jurors who participate in trials will receive questionnaires upon completion of their jury duty for the next several months.

Attorneys will receive an email invitation to complete a confidential evaluation. The improved online system now allows lawyers to complete evaluations on their phones. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee requests that attorneys who receive questionnaires complete and return them to the Supreme Judicial Court as soon as possible, as the success of the evaluation program depends upon timely responses. A high rate of participation enables the Committee to provide judges with fair and complete evaluations.

Among the categories covered in the evaluations are: a judge's knowledge of the law; temperament on the bench; courtroom control; treatment of courtroom participants; and issuing clear rulings. 

All responses are anonymous. The resulting reports are also confidential and are given only to the judge being evaluated and to the appropriate Chief Justices. The evaluation reports are then discussed in a meeting between the judge and the department chief justice and taken into account for the judge’s professional development.

Please direct any inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations to Mona Hochberg, Coordinator of Judicial Performance Evaluation, by email at Mona.Hochberg@jud.state.ma.us

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Probate and Family Court 

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

Juvenile Court 

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

Housing Court 

The Housing Court Department oversees civil and criminal actions that involve the health, safety, or welfare of homeowners or those who live in residential housing.

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.
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