Massachusetts Law Updates

Official Blog of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Extension until May 4 for Comments on Proposed Public Access to Court Record Rules Posted on Jan 29

In response to requests for extensions of time, the Trial Court Committee on Public Access to Court Records has extended the comment period for all comments on proposed Trial Court Rule XIV, Uniform Rules on Public Access to Court Records to May 4, 2016.  All comments   …Continue Reading Extension until May 4 for Comments on Proposed Public Access to Court Record Rules

Addiction Treatment Instead of Prison for Women With Substance Abuse Disorder Posted on Jan 28

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 123, Section 35 permits the courts to involuntarily commit someone whose alcohol or drug creates “a likelihood of serious harm” to themselves or others. The law has provided that if there are no treatment beds available for women committed under that section, they   …Continue Reading Addiction Treatment Instead of Prison for Women With Substance Abuse Disorder

Do you need a Disability Plate or Placard? Posted on Jan 22

Do you need a Disability Plate or Placard?

Plates and placards are issued by the Medical Affairs Branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, to persons meeting the standards contained in 540 CMR 17.00 who, by reason of disability, need a plate or placard to minimize the distance to be traveled between the   …Continue Reading Do you need a Disability Plate or Placard?

WestlawNext and LexisAdvance now available Posted on Jan 20

The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries have made WestlawNext available at 15 law library locations* statewide at no charge for the user.  The new service includes databases on Massachusetts and Federal law and specialized content on bankruptcy, immigration, municipal law and social security.  Over 130 general treatise   …Continue Reading WestlawNext and LexisAdvance now available

Plain Language and the Law Posted on Jan 19

legalese. (1914) The peculiar language of lawyers; esp., the speech and writing of lawyers at their communicative worst, characterized by antique jargon, pomposity, affected displays of precision, ponderous abstractions, and hocus-pocus incantations. plain language. Plain language (also called Plain English) is communication your audience can   …Continue Reading Plain Language and the Law

Ex Parte Communications with Specialty Court Teams Posted on Jan 14

This week, the Massachusetts Trial Court released new Standing Order 1-16: Authority of the Judge with Respect to Communication with Specialty Court Teams which allows “A judge presiding over a specialty court … to initiate, permit or otherwise consider ex parte communications about defendants, juveniles or probationers with members of   …Continue Reading Ex Parte Communications with Specialty Court Teams

Word(s) of the Month: Ex parte Posted on Jan 13

Word(s) of the Month: Ex parte

 Words of Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law. Today’s phrase is ex parte. Ex parte (x-par-tay) A term meaning for one party in a lawsuit.  Generally court procedure requires the opposing   …Continue Reading Word(s) of the Month: Ex parte

Legal Treatises Considered Posted on Jan 12

Black’s Law Dictionary defines the treatise as “an extended, serious, and usually exhaustive book on a particular subject.” Joseph Story (1779-1845), lawyer and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, set the bar high in the early years of our country by writing the formative   …Continue Reading Legal Treatises Considered

NFL Rulebook Posted on Jan 8

As Massachusetts Trial Court Law Librarians, it is our job to point people to the Massachusetts Rules of Court. We send people to “Rules of Court and Standing Orders” every day. But we are also citizens of New England, and in some cases, Patriots fans.   …Continue Reading NFL Rulebook

Massachusetts Legal Literature in a Nutshell: Secondary Source Law Posted on Jan 7

Massachusetts Legal Literature in a Nutshell: Secondary Source Law

Secondary source material, information about the law, rather than the law itself, is not so readily accessible online for free. Secondary sources are invaluable for analysis and understanding what to do with the primary sources. Black’s Law Dictionary can help define the words; but much   …Continue Reading Massachusetts Legal Literature in a Nutshell: Secondary Source Law