Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jul. 22, 2010
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News from the courts

Land Court to relocate to state-owned building

Chief Justice for Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan has announced that efforts are underway to relocate the Land Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court to the Suffolk County Courthouse at Pemberton Square.  Relocation of the Land Court, which currently occupies private leased space at 226 Causeway St. in Boston, will realize annual savings exceeding $2.7 million.

"The size of the Trial Court's FY11 budget gap requires aggressive action on the Land Court lease, one of the largest leases in our portfolio," said Mulligan. "The move of an entire court department reflects the unprecedented actions necessary given our appropriation this year. We plan to relocate the court by the end of December to maximize available savings. The Legislature has provided the Trial Court with the authority to manage lease expenses in addressing the significant budget shortfall."

Mulligan also commended those affected by the move. "I want to recognize the extraordinary cooperation of those who work in the Land Court, the Superior Court and the Office of Community Corrections to ensure that this relocation is accomplished smoothly and successfully," he said.

"The entire Trial Court is under pressure to cut costs and deliver services," said Land Court Chief Justice Karyn Scheier.  "Wherever the Land Court is located, we will work hard to honor our long history and serve the real estate bar and the public at the highest level possible, given our resources."

The Trial Court Relocation Committee included termination of the Land Court lease among its recently announced preliminary recommendations, which were based on a review of all 103 courthouse facilities. The court will move into space in the Suffolk County High Rise Courthouse now occupied by several programs operated by the Office of Community Corrections.

The Trial Court's FY11 budget stands at $534.8 million, which compares with an FY10 budget of $559.5 million and FY09 initial appropriation of $605.1 million. An absolute hiring freeze in the Trial Court has resulted in the loss of more than 700 employees since 2008.

The Land Court also has been severely impacted by the surge in foreclosures generated by the fiscal crisis and by the hiring freeze, which puts the court below 50 percent of optimal staffing levels. The court, comprised of seven judges with statewide jurisdiction, received more than 26,000 filings in FY09.

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