What Court Staff Can (and Cannot) Do For You

The court staff is here to help you in whatever way they can. Their role is to provide you with information, not legal help. They have been instructed not to answer questions if they do not know the answer and may refer you to other resources to assist you in obtaining the information you request.

What Court staff CAN and CANNOT do for you:

  • They can give you information on a court case, unless it is unavailable by law.
  • They can provide you with general information on court rules, procedures and practices.
  • They can give you court-approved forms (forms are not available for all legal proceedings).
  • They can assist you in filling out forms in conciliation court, domestic abuse, and harassment cases.*
  • They can give you court calendars and information on how to get matters scheduled in court.
  • They cannot give you advice about whether you should file a case or whether you should take any particular action in a case.
  • They cannot tell you what to say in court.
  • They cannot tell you what a judge might do.
  • They cannot collect on a judgment for you.
  • They cannot provide service of papers.

* For more information see Minnesota Statutes 491A.02, 518B.01, 609.748, and Minnesota Rule of District Court 504 (b) (2).

Remember, court staff is here to provide you with information, not legal help. Court staff cannot act as your attorney. If you choose to represent yourself, you will have the same responsibilities as an attorney.

If you choose to hire an attorney, the legal resources listed below can assist you in locating an attorney who specializes in the area of law. These resources offer full, low, and no fee legal referrals depending on your financial ability to pay.

Excellence in Service

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is committed to providing court-related services to external customers in an efficient manner. External customers include litigants, attorneys, jurors, witnesses, victims, media representatives, advocates, appellate courts, criminal justice stakeholders, and members of the public presenting themselves to request a service provided by the trial courts. In an attempt to achieve this goal, every person employed by the court system (including judges, judicial staff, administrative staff) shall make the best effort to:

  1. Demonstrate respect and courtesy;
  2. Treat all customers fairly and equitably;
  3. Provide to the extent authorized by law, a prompt and courteous response to both oral and written requests for pertinent information on cases and proceedings;
  4. Furnish, to the extent authorized by law, adequate information regarding what to expect of the court system and instructions on how to use the services. Information and forms should be provided in an easy to read, understandable format;
  5. Provide service that includes as little personal inconvenience as possible.