Court Systems

Headline:

Even though courts are fully operational and accessible by the public, some hearings and other proceedings are still taking place virtually – by videoconference or phone.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Jan. 17, 2023

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • Find critical information about going to court, contacting the court, checking the status of your case, paying court fees, and other information here.
  • Some eviction protections for tenants in non-payment cases have been extended through March 31, 2023. Check these eviction resources or call the free, confidential, multilingual 2-1-1 community service line for more information. Tenants participating in court-connected mediation have the right to have an attorney, advocate, or other adviser present.
  • Court Service Centers help people navigate the court system. Court users can also call their local courthouse.
  • Cell phones are permitted in all courthouses.
  • Some court hearings are still taking place virtually and some or all of the people participate by video or phone. Find helpful information on remote Trial Court services like remote hearings and virtual registries here.

The Breakdown

  • Certain protections for MA tenants facing eviction for non-payment of rent have been extended through March 31, 2023. Additional state eviction protections and information can be found in the Housing Instability section of the Digital Digest. Importantly, tenants participating in court-connected mediation have the right to have an attorney, advocate, or other adviser present during dispute resolution sessions.
  • Wearing a mask to court is encouraged but no longer required. People may not enter state courthouses and court facilities if they meet any of the COVID-related conditions outlined here.
  • The public can view the status of court cases on masscourts.org. Click here to see how to search court dockets online.
  • To find out if a case will be heard in person or virtually, call or email the court using this Courthouse Locator or this Court department emails page.
  • Court users can get help remotely from Trial Court Law Libraries and Court Service Centers, which provide guidance M-F between 9am and 12pm. Brochures are available in ten languages.
  • Many court hearings are still virtual (meaning that some or all of the people participate by video or phone). The court system developed an online guide to virtual hearings and the Massachusetts Bar Association created a video guide to help court users prepare for remote hearings.
  • People with upcoming MA Trial Court proceeding dates can sign up for eReminder notifications with the date, time, and location of their next scheduled court appearance. Flyers about the e-Reminder service are available in multiple languages here.
  • Use this online form to report any concerns relating to court operations during the pandemic.

The Bottom Line

  • Through March 31, 2023, courts must delay non-payment eviction cases while a tenant’s application for rental assistance is pending.
  • Consolidated resources for people facing eviction are available through this COVID-19 eviction information website.