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Voir Dire Resource Center

Starting Feb. 2, 2015, Massachusetts attorneys will, for the first time, be allowed to question prospective jurors in civil and criminal trials throughout the Superior Court.

With the passage of Chapter 254 of the Acts of 2014 in August, Massachusetts joins 39 other states that allow some form of attorney-conducted voir dire. The new law not only permits attorneys to question potential jurors and screen for bias in Superior Court trials, it also allows attorneys to suggest a monetary amount for damages suffered by a plaintiff in a civil trial. The Massachusetts Bar Association and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys advocated strongly for both measures.

Interim protocols governing voir dire

On Dec. 9, 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court announced an interim procedure to implement attorney-conducted voir dire in Superior Court. The interim procedure is set forth in Superior Court Standing Order 1-15, approved by the Superior Court on December 5, 2014 and by Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey on December 8, 2014.

Practice Alert

Have questions about Standing Order 1-15? Read Committee for Public Counsel Services's Carolyn McGowan's practice alert. McGowan is a member of the SJC Committee on Jury Voir Dire and provides practice suggestions

Please visit this page for more information as it becomes available, and reserve your space at this important training program.

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