Here's where you can find the actual laws and court rules that will guide the judge in ruling on issues as they come up in your case, as well as deciding on the final judgment. Click on the button to see the law:
There are three types of laws:
Statutory law consists of statutes enacted by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Massachusetts Senate, and signed into law by the Governor. Statutes in Massachusetts are known as the General Laws. Sometimes you will see them referred to using the "G.L." notation; and sometimes you will see them referred to using the "M.G.L." notation. Both are correct and accepted. Here in our website, we use the "G.L." notation. The general form for reference to a statute is "G.L. c. 123, § 45" - This refers to chapter 123, section 45 of the General Laws.
Caselaw consists of past cases that have been decided by an appellate level court. In Massachusetts, the state appellate level courts are the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. These cases have value as precedent, and guide judges in the Probate and Family Court (and other trial courts in Massachusetts) as they apply the law in various cases.
Court rules are the procedural rules adopted by each court. They are designed to ensure the efficient and fair operation of the court. Since they are procedural rules, they do not deal with the substantive issues in a case. Rather, they deal with court procedure.