Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 12, 2011
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News from the courts

SJC Task Force issues recommendations on court officer hiring and promotion; SJC approves amendments to Appeals Court Standing Orders on the filing of certain motions, electronic notification of court orders in lieu of paper notice, governing petitions to the single justice and adopts a six month pilot program requiring appellants to file docketing statements in civil cases

The Supreme Judicial Court has reviewed the recommendations presented in the "Action Plan for Hiring and Promotion of Court Officers and Associate Court Officers," delivered to the court by the SJC's Task Force on Hiring in the Judicial Branch, chaired by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

The action plan outlines recommendations that the task force believes will improve current procedures. They include implementing best practices for attracting and employing highly qualified individuals, restricting the use of recommendations until finalists are selected, introducing annual performance evaluations, creating a career path as a performance incentive, and centralizing supervision of the hiring process.

Last December the SJC established the task force to undertake a comprehensive review of the hiring and promotion practices in the Judicial Branch in the wake of the abuse in the hiring and promotion practices of the Probation Department documented in a report by Independent Counsel Paul Ware. Task force members now will continue work on their mandate by undertaking reviews of the remaining parts of the judiciary, while monitoring the transformation of probation.

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SJC approves amendments to Appeals Court Standing Order
regarding the filing of certain motions and letters

The original standing order went into effect on May 1. Since then, the court has identified several items that need to be modified to make the electronic filing of documents more efficient and convenient for counsel, litigants and the court. First, the court has revised the standing order's title to more accurately reflect its scope, revising it to state "Standing Order Requiring the Electronic Filing of All Motions and Letters After Panel Assignment." Second, the court has deleted the requirement that attorneys and self-represented litigants file both a paper original and a PDF copy of the same document. Instead, the standing order requires attorneys and litigants to electronically file (i.e., e-mail) only a PDF of the document, and submit no paper original or copies. An original or additional paper copies are not required because the clerk's office distributes these documents electronically to the justices. This change will benefit counsel and self-represented parties since they will not need to incur the costs associated with producing and mailing or delivering multiple paper copies, and streamline the distribution mechanisms within the court. Finally, the revised standing order states that upon motion and a showing of good cause, the court can grant leave to file only a paper copy in lieu of the PDF.

Click here to learn more.

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SJC approves Appeals Court Standing Order governing electronic notification of court orders, notices and decisions in lieu of paper notice

The Standing Order permits attorneys and self-represented litigants to register to receive only electronic (i.e., e-mail) notification of the court's actions, orders, and decisions, in lieu of paper notice. To register, attorneys and self-represented litigants must file a signed consent form, which will be available on the Appeals Court's Web site as a PDF form that can be filled, saved and e-mailed to the clerk's office. The clerk's office will issue the electronic notifications multiple times each day to registered attorneys and self-represented litigants, while conserving its limited resources and expenses by not printing and mailing duplicative paper notices. The Standing Order is effective June 1.

Click here to learn more.

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SJC approves Appeals Court Standing Order governing petitions
to the single justice pursuant to G. L. c. 231, sec. 118

These standing orders will require petitioners to file certain documents that are essential to the single justice's screening of both petitions for interlocutory review and motions to stay judgments or the execution of sentences. The Standing Order is effective June 1.

Click here to learn more.

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Appeals Court adopts six month pilot program requiring appellants to file docketing statments in civil cases

The Justices of the Appeals Court have proposed a pilot program requiring appellants to file docketing statements in all civil appeals. The docketing statement will provide the court with important background information that will be useful not only when the case is entered and screened, but also while it is under consideration.

Click here to learn more.

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