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NEWS ADVISORY

Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire

CONTACT:
Laura Kiernan
Communications Director
lkiernan@courts.state.nh.us
603-271-2646 ext 2359

COURT LOCATIONS ADJUST PUBLIC OFFICE HOURS

CHANGES INTENDED TO HELP REDUCE DELAYS IN CASE PROCESSING

CONCORD, May 17 Several New Hampshire court locations, facing case backlogs and staff shortages, have adjusted their office hours to allow employees uninterrupted time to process court orders and related case materials. The changes were authorized by the Judicial Branch Administrative Council, whose members include the administrative judges of the Superior, Probate and District Courts and the Family Division and the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The decision to implement "partial closures" at some locations means that during specified hours staff will be unavailable to answer general telephone inquiries or to assist the public in the clerk's office. During that time, staff will focus on case processing. Scheduled trials, court hearings or alternative dispute resolution sessions will be conducted during hours of partial closure, and the public will have access to those hearings.

An up-to-date list of courts that have changed their office hours is available on the Judicial Branch website.

The FY10-11 state budget requires the Judicial Branch to maintain 59 staff positions vacant throughout the state, which is about a 10 percent reduction in court staff. An additional 13 staff positions are currently vacant. To address additional reductions in the Judicial Branch budget, the court system has scheduled six unpaid furlough days, two taken in April, and one day scheduled in May, July, August and September. All court locations statewide are closed on furlough days, except for emergencies. If additional furlough days are necessary for spending reduction, notice will be provided at least four weeks in advance. A list of potential furlough dates is in the order issued on court furlough days (Administrative Order 2010-01).

Court staff are available, either during partial closing hours or on furlough days, for any emergency matters such as domestic violence, stalking, or for emergency pleadings.

Lawyers and parties to cases are urged to contact the court clerk's office in advance about access to hearings or proceedings at a particular location. There will be a voice-mail telephone message and a sign on the door of each court location for information about that court's partial closing dates and emergency telephone access information.

 

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