FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2017
BOSTON, MA -- The Supreme Judicial Court announced today a change in the number of Justices who will hear and decide most Full Court cases during the next court term. Beginning with the September 2017 sitting, the quorum will consist of six Justices for most cases. The quorum for the final day of each month's sitting, traditionally reserved for argument in first degree murder appeals, will remain unchanged with five Justices participating.
The change to the composition of the quorum revives the court's past practice of limiting the Single Justice's participation in a Full Court sitting, to give the Single Justice more time to consider other matters that arise throughout the month. One of the Associate Justices sits as Single Justice each month on a rotating schedule and considers numerous and varied civil and criminal matters as well as bar discipline cases.
"The work of the Single Justice is of vital importance to the court's jurisprudence and this change will allow the Single Justice to devote more time and energy to the volume of petitions and complaints that are filed," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants. "With a quorum of six Justices, the seventh Justice will be added to the quorum in the event of an equally divided court."
The Full Court renders approximately 200 written decisions each year; the Single Justices decide approximately 600 cases annually. Calendars of cases that will be heard by the Full Court and by the Single Justices are available online at http://ma-appellatecourts.org/search_calendar.php.
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Jennifer Donahue/Erika Gully-Santiago