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A summons to a party or a witness in a care and protection case filed pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 24 may be served by any person authorized to serve civil or criminal process, either by delivering a copy thereof to the individual personally, or by leaving a copy thereof at the individual's last and usual place of abode. Alternatively, a judge may specially appoint a probation officer, court officer or any other person to serve a summons in such manner. Such a summons may also be served by the clerk-magistrate by mailing a copy thereof to the individual's last known address, if a judge has so directed.
A precept in a care and protection case may be served by any person authorized to serve civil or criminal process. In addition, or in the alternative, a judge may specially appoint a probation officer, court officer or any other person to serve a precept.
All parties shall participate in a pretrial conference, to be scheduled by the court, prior to the commencement of the adjudicatory hearing. At the conference, counsel shall be prepared to present an estimate of the time needed for trial, shall indicate the number and identity of all witnesses who are expected to testify, and shall also specify the nature of any exhibits which are expected to be offered into evidence. Counsel shall also be prepared to propose stipulations as to uncontested facts, admissibility of evidence, or legal conclusions which may be drawn by the judge.
The parties shall be prepared to begin the adjudicatory hearing at any point after two weeks from the submission of the investigator's report, as directed by the court.
In order to facilitate the trial and appeal of such matters, an attorney of record for any party may inspect and obtain a copy of any portion of the court record of the case (including the investigator's report), except for any portions of the court record which the judge has ordered impounded or otherwise restricted. In order to protect the privacy of the child and the parents, (1) the child's parents themselves and any other persons requesting access to the record of the case shall be granted such access only pursuant to an order by the court; (2) an attorney for a party may permit his or her client to view the attorney's copy, but shall not duplicate or distribute the copy to the client or to any other person, except upon court order; and (3) any other person (including a party) whom the court permits to receive a copy of any portion of the court record shall not further duplicate or distribute it, except upon court order.