For immediate release:
4/01/2020
  • Executive Office of the Trial Court
  • District Court
  • Boston Municipal Court
  • Superior Court
  • Probate and Family Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Housing Court
  • Land Court
  • Massachusetts Probation Service
  • Massachusetts Court System

Media Contact for Trial Court Launches Help Line to Assist Court Users

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe Trial Court announced today the establishment of a Help Line beginning on April 2 that the public can call to ask general questions about their civil and criminal cases and help them navigate the court system while the court system remains closed to the public except for emergency matters. 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.

For emergency matters, court users should first call their local court Clerk's or Register's OfficesContact numbers for individual courts and offices can be found online on the Courthouse Locator page. Emergency matters include: emergency protection and harassment prevention orders; arraignments of new arrests; bail reviews; dangerousness hearings; mental health commitment orders; care and protection orders; and other matters. Each department of the Trial Court issued Standing Orders that contain full lists of emergency matters.

"In light of the Supreme Judicial Court Order issued today that extends the previous order limiting courts to emergency matters until May 4, the Help Line is an important resource for people who need information on their court cases, who have questions regarding non-emergency matters, and who may not know where to go for answers to their questions," said Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey. "It will also serve as a backup resource in the event a Clerk's or Register's office is closed or otherwise unable to assist in an emergency."

If a member of the public is unable to reach a Clerk's Office or Register's Office, Help Line staff will serve as a backup resource and will be able to look up case information and assist callers. The following Trial Court Departments will have representatives on the Help Line: District Court, Boston Municipal Court, Superior Court, Probate and Family Court, Juvenile Court, Housing Court, and Land Court. The Massachusetts Probation Service will also have representatives available on the Help Line. Callers to the Help Line will be prompted to select the Trial Court Department they wish to reach and then be connected to a knowledgeable representative who can access the main court case database.

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Media Contact for Trial Court Launches Help Line to Assist Court Users

District Court 

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

Boston Municipal Court 

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

Superior Court 

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

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 

Currently all non-emergency cases will be scheduled for, or continued to, a date no earlier than May. Parties will receive notice of rescheduled cases, but plaintiffs are advised to alert all parties of the scheduling change. Each Clerk-Magistrate, in consultation with the First Justice, has the discretion in his/her respective division to determine if an event is considered an emergency. All self-represented litigants are encouraged to eFile as set forth in the Housing Court’s Standing Order 2-20, or, in the alternative, may send all correspondence to the court by first-class mail. If you need further assistance please refer to the department’s list of Hotline numbers relevant to the department such as the Clerk’s Office, Tenancy Preservation Program and Legal Services. This list can be accessed below under ‘What would you like to do?’.

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.

Massachusetts Probation Service 

MPS's main goal is to keep communities safe and to provide people on probation with the rehabilitative tools they need to live a productive and law-abiding life.

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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