Serving the Self-Represented Litigant: A Guide For Massachusetts Court Staff

Massachusetts Trial Court

Prepared by the Court Personnel Working Group of the Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Self-Represented Litigant

This Guide provides court personnel with practical guidelines to help them provide effective assistance and useful information to court users.

It sets forth guidelines for distinguishing "legal information" from "legal advice" and specifically provides that "Court staff may provide to court users as much information and as many options as possible, without interfering in or directing the decision to be made by court users or affecting their legal rights." 

The Guide also sets forth specific frequently asked questions, with sample responses, for issues that arise in the following courts: 

  • Supreme Judicial Court
  • Appeals Court
  • Superior Court Department
  • Land Court Department
  • Probate and Family Court Department
  • Housing Court Department
  • District Court Department
  • Boston Municipal Court Department
  • Juvenile Court Department