Court staff

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Notas finales

Gary Allen

This section explains different members of the court staff.


Judges rule on what procedures to follow, what evidence is acceptable, and how the law applies to your case. They hear motions and trials. When making decisions, judges interpret the law. Judges are appointed by the governor. They must retire at age 70.8

Judges are faced with the difficult job of making very important decisions that affect people's lives. They have to hear a lot of cases, one after the other, often under high-pressure conditions. Judges also have different temperaments and interpret the laws differently.

Judges must be neutral. You must not expect a judge to be your advocate. To put yourself in the best position to be heard by a judge, come prepared. Know what your legal claims are and bring key documents and evidence to prove your claims. When you present your case, be brief. Judges appreciate when people get to the point. If you ramble and are not prepared, the judge might not understand your key points.


Clerk-magistrates in district, housing, and superior courts are judicial officers charged with organizing and sometimes conducting court business. Their job is to call cases to be heard, locate files, make routine fee waiver decisions, conduct certain kinds of hearings, and otherwise assist the judge. Oftentimes, clerk-magistrates serve as a judge in small claims matters such as security deposit complaint. In the courtroom, the clerk magistrate usually sits in front of or next to the judge. You may ask the clerk to explain court procedures. However, clerk-magistrates are not permitted to give legal advice.

Housing Specialists

Housing specialists work only in the housing court. Their primary function is to mediate cases. Their job is to be neutral and listen to both parties. In some courts, they also go out to properties to inspect them. They work closely with the other court personnel to resolve housing problems.

Court Officers

Court officers are the uniformed officers responsible for keeping order in the court. They open and close each court session with the familiar "all rise."

Notas finales


8 . Mass. Const., Pt. 2, Ch. III, art. 1. After retiring at age 70, a judge may still be assigned to hear cases, as long as no one assignment lasts longer than 90 days. Mass. Const. Art. of Amend., art. XCVIII; G.L. c. 211B, §14.

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