Press Release

Press Release Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey Announces Retirement

For immediate release:
10/08/2021
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Executive Office of the Trial Court
  • Superior Court
  • Boston Municipal Court
  • District Court
  • Probate and Family Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Housing Court
  • Land Court
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey Announces Retirement

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe Honorable Paula M. Carey, Chief Justice of the Trial Court, announced today that she would retire from the Trial Court in January 2022. Chief Justice Carey was appointed to a five-year term by the Supreme Judicial Court, which she began on July 16, 2013, and reappointed to a second term in 2018 pursuant to G. L. 211B, §6.

On behalf of the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Kimberly Budd said: “Chief Justice Carey is passionate about delivering justice to the people in the Commonwealth. With unflagging energy, she has worked to improve access to justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion for all who work in and use our courts. She has shepherded the Trial Court through many advancements and steered the departments through the pandemic with perseverance and determination. With her energy and leadership, Chief Justice Carey has made an indelible mark on the judiciary, and all of us in the courts, the bar and the Commonwealth owe her a large debt of gratitude.”

The Chief Justice of the Trial Court is the policy and judicial head of the Trial Court, which includes the Boston Municipal, District, Housing, Juvenile, Land, Probate and Family, and Superior Courts, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation, and the Office of Jury Commissioner. The Chief Justice of the Trial Court has authority over all matters of judicial policy and appoints the departmental chief justices, oversees case flow management and the establishment of programs and procedures to continuously improve access to justice by all segments of the Commonwealth's population. The Chief Justice partners with the Court Administrator to oversee all administrative aspects of the Trial Court comprised of 385 judges, 6300 staff, a $779.9 million budget and 97 courthouses.

“I have absolutely loved my work with the Massachusetts Trial Court, first as a judge, then as the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Department, and as Chief Justice of the Trial Court,” said Chief Justice Carey. “I continue to have the same passions I have always had and will continue to work towards racial equity and access to justice for all. Retirement for me is not an ending, but the beginning of a different life committed to the same principles, just in a different way that permits me to attend to the imminent needs of my loved ones.”

As Chief Justice of the Trial Court, the Hon. Paula Carey created the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Experience in 2018 to impact policy, awareness, and training. She built strong partnerships with the Executive Branch to ensure the success of major systemic improvements, including the recent Eviction Diversion Initiative, a comprehensive set of resources to support tenants and landlords during the financial challenges caused by the pandemic. She also held a leadership role in the development of a data-driven justice reinvestment approach to reduce reoffending, contain corrections spending and invest in strategies to increase public safety.

Within the Trial Court she formed a Language Access Advisory Committee to create a comprehensive language access plan to enhance access to justice; significantly increased collaboration across Trial Court departments to create consistent policies and practices to better serve the Bar and the public; and expanded judicial mentoring and leadership development. As Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court, she oversaw the complex implementation of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code. 

Prior to her initial appointment as Chief Justice of the Trial Court in May of 2013, Chief Justice Carey had served as Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court since 2007. She was first appointed to the Probate and Family Court in 2001 as a circuit judge and then served as an associate justice in Norfolk County.

Chief Justice Carey received the Boston Bar Association’s Haskell Cohn Distinguished Judicial Service Award in 2011, as well as the Freedman Award from the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the MCLE Scholar-Mentor Award, and the Middlesex Bar Association's Distinguished Jurist Award. She is also a past recipient of the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers Distinguished Jurist Award, the Daniel F. Toomey Excellence in Judiciary Award, and the Massachusetts Judges Conference Probate and Family Court Judicial Excellence Award.

Prior to her appointment as a judge, she co-founded the firm Carey and Mooney PC, a family law practice. While in private practice, she chaired the Family Law Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association and served on the Family Law Steering Committee of the Boston Bar Association. Chief Justice Carey graduated magna cum laude from New England Law | Boston.

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Media Contact for Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey Announces Retirement

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

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

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.

Superior Court 

The Superior Court Department is a statewide court that handles criminal and civil actions.

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.

Probate and Family Court 

The Probate and Family Court Department handles court matters that involve 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 

To speak virtually with a member of a Housing Court division’s Clerk’s Office or Housing Specialist Department, click on the “Virtual Front Counters” link, available on each division’s location page and our ‘Housing Court Resources’ page. For information and resources that may benefit both landlords and tenants, such as Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance, Lawyer for the Day Program, and other resources, please see the ‘Housing Court Resources’ page, linked below.

Land Court 

The Land Court hears a wide range of cases involving real estate and land use, and oversees the Commonwealth’s system for the registration of title to real property.

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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