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What Court Clerks Can and Cannot Do for You

Court clerks are happy to help if they can, but they must be fair to everybody and are allowed to help you only in certain ways.

When you go to court, here is a list of some things court personnel can and cannot do for you:

Clerks can

  • explain and answer general questions about how the court works.
  • give you general information about court rules, procedures, and practices.
  • provide you with the number for lawyer referral services, legal aid programs, and other services where you can get legal information.
  • provide court schedules and information on how to get a case scheduled.
  • give you information from your case file that is not restricted.
  • usually answer questions about court deadlines.

Clerks cannot

  • tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
  • tell you what words to use in your court papers or whether they are correct.
  • tell you what to say in court.
  • give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
  • conduct legal research for you or give you legal advice.
  • talk to the judge for you or let you talk to the judge outside of court.
  • alter court documents.

IMPORTANT: The court clerk's ability to assist you will depend on the time and resources available, as well as the scope of his or her responsibilities.