Here are helpful links and resources that can assist you with your legal information needs.
Court Service Centers help people navigate the court system. Centers are available to all court users without lawyers, and there are no income or immigration status requirements. All of the services in the Court Service Centers are free, but there may be other fees associated with your case, such as filing fees.
● Services are first-come/first-serve assistance
● One-to-one help filling out/completing court forms
● Information about court rules, procedures, and practices
● Access to interpreter services via language line
● Referrals to and contact information for community resources, legal
assistance programs, social service agencies, and law libraries
Types of cases they are able to assist with:
● Probate and Family Court – e.g.: divorces, custody, child support, guardianships, restraining orders
● Housing Court – e.g.: evictions, small claims
● District Court – e.g.: harassment orders, small claims
● Others – e.g.: CORI sealing, criminal complaints
There are 15 Trial Court Law Libraries located across Massachusetts to serve the courts, attorneys, and the public. Just like local public libraries, the law libraries are open to everyone and are there to help you with your legal information needs.
They offer assistance with legal research and, with a Trial Court Law Library Card, they also offer:
● Borrowing privileges for print books, ebooks, and audio CDs
● Online legal research tools that can give you remote access to over 300 full-text self-help law books online
Informational lists compiled by the Trial Court Law Libraries:
Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) – The Trial Court Law Libraries have compiled lists of regulations by number and an index by subject to make finding regulations easier for the user.
Massachusetts city and town ordinances and bylaws – A collection of city and town ordinances or bylaws available online, compiled by the Trial Court Law Libraries. If you don’t see your city or town listed, or if you want to be sure that you have the most current information, contact the town or city clerk.
Massachusetts Laws by Popular Name – Find laws by names that won’t appear in the laws themselves, like Lemon Law, Jessica’s Law, Little Miller, or Check the Box.
Massachusetts Legal Forms – Legal forms available online for no charge. “Legal forms” are forms that are not filed in court, such as forms for taxes, contracts, and wills. If there are also court forms on a topic, they link to that section of official court forms for your convenience.
Federal Legal Information – If you need to access federal information in the course of your legal research, these quick guides to federal laws, regulations, cases, and rules will get you started.
|Below you’ll find additional links to websites of organizations that may assist you with your legal questions or needs.
LEGAL ISSUES SPECIFIC TO HOUSING:
● Massachusetts Emergency Housing Assistance during COVID-19 – Are you having trouble paying your rent or mortgage because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you lost your job or lost income during the COVID-19 health crisis? Are you at risk of becoming homeless? You may be eligible to receive help with paying your rent or mortgage. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) offers two programs (RAFT & ERMA) that can assist low-income households.
● COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP) – The COVID Eviction Legal Help Project gives free legal help to low-income tenants and to low-income owner-occupants of 2- or 3-family homes.
● Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) 833-912-6878 – The Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) is a homelessness prevention program. TPP works with tenants, including families of children with disabilities, facing eviction as a result of behavior related to a disability (e.g. mental illness, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse, aging-related impairments). TPP functions as a neutral party to the landlord and tenant. In consultation with the Housing Court Department, TPP works with the property owner and tenant to determine whether the disability can be reasonably accommodated and the tenancy preserved.
● Housing Court Resources – Information available on this website is meant to benefit both landlords and tenants.
FAMILY, HOUSING AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES:
● Massachusetts 211 (call 2-1-1)- 211 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community. It serves as a resource for finding government benefits and services, nonprofit organizations, support groups, volunteer opportunities, donation programs, and other local resources.
● MassLegalHelp – Need legal information? This site can help you find practical information about your legal rights in Massachusetts.
● Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder – Need help with a legal problem in Massachusetts? Answer a few questions and they’ll give you contact information for legal aid offices, government agencies, and court programs that may be able to help you for free or at low cost. They’ll also give you links to free legal information and self-help materials.
● Massachusetts Free Legal Answers – The purpose of the website is to increase access to advice and information about non-criminal legal matters for those who cannot afford it. There is no fee for the use of the system or for the advice and information provided by the attorney. Eligibility for use of ABA Free Legal Answers is limited to the following: the user must be an adult; the user must have met financial eligibility guidelines; the user may not be incarcerated; and the user may not request assistance with criminal law matters.
● Massachusetts Trial Court Electronic Case Access (MassCourts) – This is the central case management application used by all of the Trial Court departments and the Massachusetts Probation Service.
● MA Trial Court Remote/Virtual Services – Because of COVID-19, many court hearings are now remote, which means that some or all of the people participate by video or phone. This website provides helpful information on remote Trial Court services like remote hearings and virtual registries.