This advisory comes directly from the New Hampshire Judicial Branch. It is unclear how this will affect the overall efficiency of court research, however researchers will have to modify their search hours to accommodate the new court schedule.
The Merrimack County Superior Court, faced with a critical case backlog and staff shortage, will close the clerk’s office from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily commencing August 2 to allow uninterrupted time for processing cases and related materials. No telephone or counter service will be available to lawyers, litigants or the public in the clerk’s office during those hours; the automated telephone system will be monitored so that emergency requests are addressed promptly. A “drop box” will be set up inside the courthouse in Concord for filing documents during the hours when the clerk’s office is closed.
Superior Court Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn said the schedule will be reviewed every 30 days to determine when the clerk’s office can return to routine office hours. Reductions in the court system budget have required administrators to maintain 68 full-time non-judicial vacancies, which means court locations have fewer employees on staff to carry out day to day clerical responsibilities. That has resulted in a “critical case processing backlog” in Merrimack County, Lynn said in a memo this week to the Judicial Branch Administrative Council.