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General Laws

Section 6A. (a) Any special justice of a district court holding office on January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six may, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (c), certify in writing to the chief justice for the district court department that upon said certificate becoming effective said special justice shall devote full-time during ordinary business hours to the duties of his office and shall not engage directly or indirectly in the practice of law. Said certificate shall become effective at such time as the chief justice for the district court may direct, but in no case later than July first, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine; provided, however, that no special justice shall become full-time before another who has filed a certificate before him; and provided, further, that a certificate may not be withdrawn after it has been filed.

(b) Upon said certificate becoming effective, said special justice shall be subject to the following provisions: (1) he shall devote full-time during ordinary business hours to the duties of his office, and shall not engage directly or indirectly in the practice of law; (2) he shall be paid the salary provided for justices of the trial court who are required to devote full-time to their duties, said salary to be paid from the same sources and in the same manner as the salary of other justices of the district courts, and travel and expense allowances to the same extent as is provided for justices of the district courts; (3) he shall sit by assignments of the chief justice for the district court in the district court to which he was appointed, in district courts in the county in which the district court to which he was appointed is located or in which he resides or in a county adjacent to either of them, and, in instances where exigent circumstances require, in district courts in other counties, and he shall perform such other duties as are assigned him by said chief justice. He shall be assigned to sit as proximate as reasonably practicable to the district court to which he was appointed, consistent with the public interest in the effective administration of justice; and he shall sit in such other courts and in such manner as the law provides for justices and special justices of the district courts; (4) except as otherwise provided in this section he shall have the same powers, duties, rights and privileges, including the power to hear and decide civil actions, as a justice of a district court who is required to devote full-time to his duties and who is not the administrative head of his court; and (5) as provided in the preceding section six, he shall be eligible to be a first justice.

(c) The certificate provided for in paragraph (a) may be filed with the chief justice for the district court at any time before May thirty-first, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine.

(d) The provisions of section six with regard to vacation and sick leave, including the provisions relative to accumulation, shall be deemed applicable to all justices and special justices who serve full-time in accordance with the provisions of this section. During the calendar year in which his certificate is made effective a special justice shall be entitled to the number of absences for vacation and sick leave corresponding to the proportion of said year remaining after said certificate becomes effective.

Notwithstanding any provisions of the general laws to the contrary, (1) for the purposes of determining pension responsibilities a special justice appointed, or first appointed, as the case may be, to his office prior to January second, nineteen hundred and seventy-five who serves full-time in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not be subject to the provisions of section sixty-five D of chapter thirty-two; and (2) for purposes of determining the pension rights of a special justice who serves full-time in accordance with the provisions of this section any special justice may elect to waive the provisions of section sixty-five B of chapter thirty-two and his full-time service shall be deemed the service of a justice of a district court, other than the chief justice, and said special justice shall be entitled to the same credit for his part-time service, if any, as a special justice as is provided in section sixty-five A of chapter thirty-two for a justice of a district court who has previously served as a special justice; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to alter the pension rights and responsibilities applicable to a special justice who does not file a certificate under the provisions of this section.

(e) Any special justice holding office on January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six who does not file a certificate under the foregoing provisions shall, after July first, nineteen hundred and seventy-nine, be precluded from engaging directly or indirectly in the practice of law.

(f) Except as provided in paragraph (e) nothing in this section shall affect the powers, duties, rights and privileges of any special justice who is holding his office on January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six and who does not file a certificate under the provisions of paragraph (a).

(g) Any special justice who assumes office after January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six shall devote full-time during ordinary business hours to the duties of his office and shall not engage directly or indirectly in the practice of law, and shall also be subject to so much of the other provisions of paragraphs (b) and (d) as are applicable.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to establish a new judicial position nor to abolish the tenure of any incumbent special justice of a district court.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to interfere with the existing administrative powers and duties of a first justice in a district court.

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