SJC announces new hiring, promotion plan
The Supreme Judicial Court issued an action plan on Sept. 8 for
the hiring and promotion of Trial Court administrative
The SJC's Task Force for Hiring in the Judicial Branch, led by
former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, recommended the SJC
redefine recruitment, hiring and promotion practices, establish an
employee performance review system, conduct trainings for
evaluators and interviewers and update mission statements and job
"We commend the dedicated efforts of the Task Force and the
insightful blueprint it provides to reconfigure the hiring,
evaluation and promotional systems of the Trial Court. Broadening
the role and capacity of the human resources department will be a
key priority of the new Office of Court Management headed by the
Court Administrator," said SJC Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland.
"This report highlights that despite fiscal challenges we need to
implement modern approaches that will allow us to recruit, retain,
evaluate, and promote talented men and women who seek to serve in
the judicial system."
"In these tight fiscal times when the courts have been forced to
reduce hours and close courthouses, it is imperative that public
confidence is maintained in the day-to-day operations of the
courts. We look forward to the implementation of the many
structural changes contained in the recent Court Reform Act passed
by the Legislature and endorsed by the courts," MBA Chief Legal
Counsel Martin W. Healy said.
"We also anticipate the upcoming hiring of a professional Trial
Court administrator, which will greatly assist the justices in
these daunting times and will help ensure that many of the
personnel recommendations contained in the Harshbarger Task Force
Report are swiftly adopted," Healy said.
The MBA's 1976 Res Gestae, independently commissioned
1991 Harbridge House Report and 2003 Court Reform Study have urged
a number of judicial reforms, including the hiring of a civilian,
non-judicial court administrator to manage the business operations
of the Trial Court.
Massachusetts courts adjust office hours for clerks,
Thirty-eight Massachusetts courts, facing case backlogs and
staff shortages, adjusted the hours of clerks and registers offices
as of Sept. 19 in order to reduce processing delays. The scheduling
of court sessions will not be affected by the changes in office
hours and access will be available for emergency matters.
"Our severe staffing reductions require an adjustment in some
public office hours so that employees can more effectively serve
those who depend on the courts," said Chief Justice for
Administration & Management Robert A. Mulligan. "Court staff
have made remarkable efforts to deliver timely justice during three
years of significant budget and staff cuts. However, almost one
third of courts now need some uninterrupted time to address
backlogs and reduce delays, as already done by courts in other
This reduction in counter and telephone hours will provide
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.
To view the changes, go to www.mass.gov/courts/court-hour-change.html.
Housing Court forms available in PDF
The Housing Court has converted its forms to fillable PDF
format, to assist litigants and attorneys in preparing forms for
court use. Forms can now be completed online and then printed for
For more information, go to www.mass.gov/courts.
To review Massachusetts court guidelines and reports, go