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General Laws

Section 9. The chief justice of the trial court, in addition to his judicial duties and subject to the superintendence power of the supreme judicial court as provided in section 3 of chapter 211, shall have general superintendence of the judicial policy of the trial court, including, without limitation, the improvement of the administration of such courts and the securing of their proper and efficient administration.

The chief justice shall be the policy and judicial head of the trial court of the commonwealth.

In order to achieve the ends stated in this section, the chief justice of the trial court shall be responsible for planning, development, promulgation, and evaluation of trial court policies, standards, and practices and shall have the authority necessary to carry out these responsibilities including, but not limited to, the following:—

(i) the responsibility to provide planning and policy-making functions, including the implementation of such planning and policy-making decisions;

(ii) the responsibility to monitor and to assist in the case processing and case flow management capabilities of the trial court departments;

(iii) the power, upon request by the supreme judicial court, to review the record and make recommendations in any appeals by justices against whom disciplinary actions have been taken by any chief justice;

(iv) the responsibility to hear, for final determination, appeals by justices claiming to be aggrieved by an order of a chief justice assigning or transferring said justice to a particular court other than that to which he was appointed;

(v) the responsibility to hear, for final determination, appeals by first justices who have been removed by chief justices;

(vi) the responsibility to establish, manage and implement a mandatory emergency judicial response system for all judges, except when the chief justice of the trial court determines that the participation by a particular judge would create a hardship for such judge;

(vii) the responsibility to provide recommendations regarding management of the judicial recall process;

(viii) the responsibility to supervise the implementation of the continuing education programs for judicial personnel;

(ix) the power to appoint such personnel as the chief justice of the trial court may deem necessary for the office of the chief justice of the trial court; the power to discipline, supervise and define the duties of such personnel, and the power to dismiss such personnel;

(x) the power, where in different departments of the trial court there are pending cases involving the same party or the same issue, and where a request for consolidation is made to the chief administrative justice to consolidate such cases for hearing by 1 justice, and to assign said justice to sit as a justice of other departments and exercise the powers of justices of other departments, in order to dispose of such cases with efficient use of judicial resources;

(xi) the power to assign a justice appointed to any department of the trial court to sit in any other department of the court, for such period or periods of time as he deems will best promote the speedy dispatch of judicial business; provided, however, that:

(a) prior to making such assignments, said chief justice of the trial court shall ascertain the respective preferences of the justices of the trial court as to the department or departments, if any, including the department to which he is appointed, to which each such justice desires to be assigned and, in making such assignments to any department of said court shall, to the extent consistent with the effective administration of justice, including the maintenance of the respective specialized functions of the land, housing, probate and family, and juvenile court departments, the administrative responsibilities of any justice, and the speedy dispatch of judicial business in each of the several departments of the trial court, assign to any department on a basis of first priority justices who have expressed as aforesaid their preferences for assignment thereto;

(b) a justice, if aggrieved for cause by an order of the chief justice of the trial court assigning him to sit in a particular location or department of the court other than that to which he was appointed may appeal the order of said chief justice of the trial court to the supreme judicial court, which shall forthwith hear and determine the matter;

(c) a chief justice shall notify the chief justice of the trial court of, and may report to the supreme judicial court, any order made by said chief justice of the trial court pursuant to this paragraph which, in the opinion of such chief justice, impairs the orderly operation of his department;

(xiii) upon the joint request of the chief justices of 2 or more departments of the trial court, authorize the transfer of cases from one department to another;

(xiv) establish procedures, subject to the rule-making power of the justices of the supreme judicial court, for the assignment of matters coming before the trial court which do not warrant the use of a judge to other appropriate personnel, including clerk-magistrates, mediators, and arbitrators, and authorize such personnel to review, hear, and dispose of such matters, subject to appropriate judicial review;

(xv) the chief justice of the trial court shall be provided with offices that are proximate to the supreme judicial court at the expense of the commonwealth but only after said chief justice of the trial court has not found sufficient office space in any facility owned by the commonwealth and proximate to the supreme judicial court;

(xvi) the chief justice of the trial court shall be authorized to visit any department or any division or any place for holding court within such a department the chief justice may from time to time call conferences of any or all of the chief justices of the departments;

(xvii) notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the chief justice of the trial court, in order to provide for the speedy administration of justice in the counties of Dukes and Nantucket, shall designate, from time to time, justices sitting in the division of the district court department for either of said counties as justices of the superior court department sitting in either of said counties, with power to grant injunctive relief to the same extent as a justice appointed to the superior court department;

(xviii) the chief justice of the trial court may delegate his responsibilities and powers hereunder and as otherwise provided by law to a chief justice, justice, regional justice, first justice, presiding justice, court officer, clerk, or any employee of his department, for such period of time and with such limitations as he may impose, whenever in his opinion such delegation of authority will expedite the judicial business of the trial court;

(xix) the authority to hear and resolve interdepartmental disputes or disagreements regarding (1) transferring cases in order to facilitate the efficient administration of justice and (2) making adjustments in the scheduling and location of court sessions in order to facilitate the efficient administration of justice;

(xx) the responsibility to review and make recommendations regarding the expeditious clearing of outstanding warrants throughout the courts of the commonwealth;

(xxi) in consultation with the court administrator, the authority to resolve any dispute arising between a first justice of a division and a clerk of court concerning the management and administration of the clerk’s office, the duties, powers and obligations of the clerk’s staff, or the interpretation of the personnel standards provided for under section 8, provided, however, that any such dispute shall be submitted to the chief justice of the trial court in writing by the clerk, clerk-magistrate or first justice and the chief justice shall, within 30 days of receipt of the written notification of such dispute and conduct a hearing in order to determine the matter. The decision of the chief justice shall be binding on the parties;

(xxii) notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the authority to suspend any particular session of the trial court; move sessions so that the availability of court personnel is consistent with the needs of individual courts; transfer cases and matters from a court to any other court, consolidate cases, and make such periodic adjustments in the scheduling and locations of court sessions as are deemed necessary for the proper administration of justice; and

(xxiii) the authority to exercise any inherently judicial power not otherwise specified in this section; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall authorize the chief justice to exercise any power reserved to the full court.

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