News and information on actions being taken by Massachusetts state courts in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. For court closure announcements, you can also follow the courts on Twitter @macourtclosings.
Resource Court system response to COVID-19
|Organization:||Massachusetts Court System|
|Date published:||August 21, 2020|
|Last updated:||July 20, 2021|
COVID-19 and the Courts
As of June 1, courts have full or near full staffing, as determined by space and work requirements in accordance with safety protocols. Use of masks and social distancing continues. Current court orders are included in section below titled Standing orders, administrative orders, and directives.
Going to court
If you do have to go to court, there are certain things you must do, such as wear a mask and self-screen before you come. Please see What to know before going to a courthouse during COVID-19 for more information. Be sure to check the page Courthouse closures due to COVID-19 to make sure your court is open before going in.
Contacting the court
You can contact the courts by phone or email. You can also share COVID-19 concerns with the court using this form: Notify the Trial Court of Concerns During COVID-19.
Checking the status of your court case
You can find public case information on MassCourts.org. Please see how to search court dockets online and which types of cases are available to the public online for more information.
If you aren’t sure when your case will be heard or whether your case will be heard in person or virtually, please call or email your court. You can look up your court’s phone number using the Courthouse Locator or find your court’s email on the Court department emails page.
How to pay court fees
If you file by email, mail, or in person, the court Clerk’s Office will contact you to explain how you can pay your fees. You can pay your fees by:
- Giving a credit card by phone
- Mailing a check
- Paying in person with a check, cash, or a credit card
For more information on court fees, please see Court Filing Fees & Payment Information.
Jury trials and jury service
The Supreme Judicial Court has authorized 12-person juries as of May 1, 2021. Criminal cases where the defendant is in custody take priority. For a list of court locations and dates they will have access to jury pools, please see Jury Summoning Schedule for May 2021 - August 2021.
Until July 31, 2021, qualified tenants who can’t pay rent can’t be evicted if they give the written CDC notice to their landlord. Courts will still accept filings and process cases, but they won’t issue a court order that lets a landlord evict a tenant until after the CDC order expires. Households must meet certain income and other criteria to be protected. Please see COVID-19 eviction information to learn more
Tenants and small landlords can get legal help and information from the Eviction Diversion Initiative.
The Probate and Family Court is open for business on family matters, including divorce, name change, child support, and more. Most matters are being heard virtually, by phone or videoconference. For more information on how Probate and Family Court cases are handled during COVID-19, please see Probate and Family Court FAQs Related to COVID-19.
Small claims cases are being heard at some courts, but not all. You will receive a notice in the mail from the Clerk’s Office about scheduling your case. Cases that have been scheduled for a trial will be held virtually unless one of the parties doesn’t want a virtual trial. In this case, the trial will be re-scheduled to a future date when the parties can go to court in person. You can file a small claim online using a guided interview called Small Claims Guide and File. For more information, please see Small Claims.
The Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP) is open to the public by appointment only. If you want to make an appointment, talk to someone about sealing or expunging a record, or have other questions, please call (617) 557-0225.
During COVID-19, all warrants that Probation issues under G.L. 279, § 3 that would usually expire after 72 hours will stay in effect until the Trial Court has resumed normal operations. Courts won’t order GPS monitoring as a condition of release or probation unless a judge finds there is a public safety need for it.
For more information, please see Probation.