What Court Staff Can and Cannot Provide

Can Provide
Legal definitions
Forms and instructions on how to complete forms
Procedural definitions
Cites of statutes, court rules, and ordinances
Public case information
General referrals

Cannot Provide
Legal interpretations
Fill out forms for a party
Procedural advice
Research of statutes, court rules, and ordinances
Confidential case information
Deny access, discourage access, or encourage litigation
Subjective or biased referrals

Additional "Can" and "Can't-Do" Guidelines for Court Staff:

Court staff can provide:
  • General information on court rules, court processes and procedures, and ordinary practices.
    Note: Court staff are not expected to know the answers to all questions about court rules, procedures, and practices.
  • Guidance on how to compute some deadlines and due dates.
  • Court schedules and information on how to get matters scheduled.
  • Telephone numbers of the local attorney referral service or information about other agencies that may offer assistance.
Court staff cannot:
  • Advise on what to say in court.
  • Speculate what decision the judge might make or what sentence the judge might impose.
  • Comment about specific persons named in a legal document.
  • Apply the law nor give directions about how to respond in any aspect of the legal process.
  • Change an order signed by a judge.
  • Let a person talk to a judge outside of court.
  • Court staff provide information, not legal advice. If legal advice is necessary, an attorney should be consulted.
  • The court, including the judge and all staff, must remain impartial. They do not take sides in any matter coming before the court.