Monday, March 8, 2021
Court 1A Backlog Update
by Ellen Waldorf & Kim Whelan
On February 11, 2021, Judge John Casey, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, spoke to the Greater Newburyport Bar Association. Judge Casey noted as of that date:
- 1,050 1A hearings for uncontested divorces were scheduled, some as late as August 2021,
- 3,000 1A cases were processed by the court and waiting to be scheduled for hearings, and
- Potentially, thousands more were received by the court and had yet to be processed by the court.
Attorneys, court staff, and mediators attending noted that the court has been understaffed long before COVID. Furthermore, some court functions can only be performed onsite (not remotely) and, for the safety of court employees, only half the staff is permitted on site at a time. These limitations further limit the court’s ability to perform its administrative functions.
Judge Casey is working to take steps to deal with this backlog, including cases scheduled for hearings after May 1, 2021.
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