Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013
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News from the courts

Hon. Paul LoConto appointed Chief Justice of the District Court; SJC seeks nominations for new chief justice of the trial court;Probate and Family Court announces release of a procedural advisory and updated trust forms

Hon. Paul LoConto appointed Chief Justice of the District Court


LaContoChief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan has announced the appointment of Hon. Paul F. LoConto as interim chief justice of the district court, in accordance with G.L. c.211B, §7. LoConto will succeed Chief Justice Lynda M. Connolly, who will retire on March 1, 2013. Mulligan, who will reach the mandatory retirement age in July of this year, recently stated that his successor will appoint the Chief Justice of the District Court to the full five-year term.

LoConto has been a regional administrative judge of the district court department since 1999. He also has served as first justice of the Worcester District Court since 2004. Prior to that, he was first justice of the Fitchburg District Court for five years and first justice of the East Brookfield District Court for 10 years. He also served as presiding justice of the Appellate Division of the District Court in the western region from 1989 to 2011. He was first appointed to the District Court Department in 1985. Previously, he served as clerk magistrate of the East Brookfield District Court for 10 years, following his career as an attorney in private practice.

In addition, LoConto recently served as chair of the Commission on Judicial Conduct from 2010 to 2012, and as a member since 2006. He also served on the Supreme Judicial Court's Committee on Judicial Performance Evaluation and on the District Court's Committee on Caseflow Management. Loconto has been an adjunct instructor at several colleges and served in the Massachusetts National Guard from 1969 to 1975. He received a B.S. from Boston College, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and an LL.M. from Boston University Law School.

The District Court Department is comprised of 62 Divisions with 158 authorized judicial positions across the commonwealth. The Massachusetts Trial Court includes seven court departments with 379 judges who deliver justice in 100 courthouses across the state.

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SJC seeks nominations for new chief justice of the trial court

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have announced they are soliciting nominations of trial court judges for the position of chief justice of the trial court. Chief Justice Robert A. Mulligan currently holds the position. He was appointed chief justice of the trial court in 2012 pursuant to court management legislation that replaced his former position of chief justice for administration and management with the two new positions of chief justice of the trial court and court administrator. Mulligan reaches mandatory retirement in July 2013, creating a vacancy.

As the trial court's judicial leader, the chief justice has a critical role in the oversight of the delivery of justice in a 21st Century environment of information technology advancements, evolving case law, demographic changes and increased numbers of self-represented litigants. Working with court administrator Harry Spence, who was appointed last year by the Supreme Judicial Court, the new chief justice of the trial court will develop policies and programs to support and maintain the highest standards of judicial excellence in the trial court. The chief justice of the trial court reports to the chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court.

"This is a unique leadership opportunity for a superbly skilled judge who can embrace innovative judicial management and various high level responsibilities amid daily challenges," said SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland. "The position will have strong appeal to a judge with vision, creativity, and energy to enable further improvements in court administration in collaboration with the court administrator and other court leaders. It is clearly designed for a talented individual who is not only an excellent communicator with numerous constituencies, including the public we serve, but one who wants to make valuable contributions in the administration of justice."

The chief justice will be appointed by the justices from among the judges of the trial court for a five year renewable term. Judges are encouraged to nominate themselves. Others may also nominate a judge for consideration. All nominations and submissions must be received by the Supreme Judicial Court by March 1, 2013.

Click here for more information.

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Probate and Family Court announces release of a procedural advisory and updated trust forms

Chief Justice Paula M. Carey of the Probate and Family Court has announced the release of a procedural advisory on trust matters, as well as new and revised trust forms. The procedural advisory highlights procedural and form changes as a result of the adoption of the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code ("MUTC"). The MUTC was enacted as part of Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2012. Chapter 140 amended various sections of G. L. c. 190B, the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code ("MUPC") and incorporated the MUTC as Chapter 203E of the General Laws.

The pocedural advisory and trust forms were developed over the last several months by the MUPC Procedures Committee and the MUPC Forms Committee. Both committees are comprised of Probate and Family Court judges, court staff and members of the bar. See the procedural advisory here.

The following new trust forms have been created:

  • MPC 275 -- Statement of Confirmation of a Testamentary Trustee
  • MPC 351 -- General Trust Petition for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem
  • MPC 777 -- Decree and Order on General Trust Petition Appointing Guardian ad Litem
  • MPC 266 -- Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee
  • MPC 782 -- Decree and Order on Petition for Resignation/Removal/Appointment of a Successor Trustee
  • MPC 267 -- Petition to Terminate a Trust
  • MPC 783 -- Decree and Order to Terminate a Trust

The following trust forms have been revised:

  • MPC 201 -- General Trust Petition
  • MPC 857 -- Petition for Allowance of Account
  • MPC 791 -- Decree and Order of Allowance of Account
  • MPC 295 -- Petition to Modify Bond
  • MPC 776 -- Decree and Order to Modify Bond

The following trust forms have been deleted and replaced by form MPC 275 -- Statement of Confirmation of Testamentary Trustee:

  • MPC 275 --  Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee
  • MPC 781 -- Decree and Order on Petition for Appointment of Testamentary Trustee

The trust forms can be located here.

 

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