Three additional courts will adjust the hours of their clerks' offices
beginning November 14, 2011, in order to reduce processing delays. Adjusted
hours became effective on a temporary basis in 35 courts in September to
facilitate case processing. The District Courts in Concord, Marlborough and
Salem now will modify their hours for one or two hours on two or more days each
week to address case backlogs and staff shortages. In addition, the
Framingham/Natick District Court will extend the current one hour of restricted
access on two days to four days each week. The Lowell District Court will shift
its restricted hours from mid-day to the end of the day.
scheduling of court sessions is not affected by the changes in office hours and
access is available for emergency matters. This reduction in counter and
telephone hours provides uninterrupted time for staff to prepare cases for court
sessions and execute court orders, as well as to complete filing, docketing,
scanning and other case processing.
Current staffing levels,
caseloads and public concerns about extended backlogs compelled the decision to
adjust office hours. The Trial Court has lost 1,221 people, a 16 percent
reduction in staff since 2007, causing delays in many
Departmental chief justices have worked with strained local
courts to develop plans that would minimize public inconvenience and avoid
adverse impact on court users. Departments already have deployed a range
of strategies to implement technology and share staff across courts, utilize
administrative office staff and interns, and centralize some functions.
The departments are monitoring the impact of the restricted hours to assess its
effectiveness in improving operations.
The decision to reduce hours
at some locations means that during the specified hours staff will be
unavailable to answer general telephone inquiries or to assist the public in the
clerk's office. Telephone messages and signage at each location will provide
information about the adjusted hours and emergency access information. The
judicial response system which provides round-the-clock coverage for emergency
situations will be unaffected.
An updated list of courts with
modified public office hours is detailed on the following page.
Temporary Changes in Court Office Hours as of
November 14, 2011
Barnstable, E. Brookfield, Fall River (telephones only), Haverhill, Malden,
Palmer, Salem, Taunton, Waltham, Woburn, Wrentham (civil open Thursday)
Counter and phone coverage restricted 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through
Counter and phone coverage restricted 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Monday
Counter and phone coverage restricted 1:00 to 2:00
p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Lawrence, Lynn, Newburyport/Ipswich (telephones only), Somerville,
Springfield, Stoughton, Uxbridge, Westborough
Counter and phone coverage
restricted 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday & Friday
Counter and phone coverage restricted 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday
Counter and phone coverage restricted 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Monday and Wednesday
Court sessions still will begin at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00
Restricted access applies to any business except
emergency restraining orders, harassment prevention orders, mental health
Counter and phone
coverage restricted 12 Noon to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday Scheduled matters
will continue to be heard throughout the day
sessions cancelled the first week of each month in Northampton, Pittsfield and
Greenfield. Emergency matters during this week will be handled in Springfield.
These satellite sessions will continue the other weeks of the month.
Springfield Session of the Hampden
Counter and phone coverage restricted 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. and
4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Counter and phone coverage restricted 8:30 to
10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday Court sessions will be held as scheduled
throughout the day.
Probate and Family Court All divisions, except Franklin
County, Hampden County, Suffolk County, Worcester County
Registry Counter and
phone coverage restricted after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday
Applies to any
court business, except emergency restraining orders and other emergencies. Court
sessions still will begin at 8:30 a.m.
As of November 14, 2011