Court clerk

Court clerk

A court clerk (British English clerk to the court; American English clerk of the court or clerk of court) is an officer of the court whose responsibilities include maintaining the records of a court. Another duty is to administer oaths to witnesses, jurors, and grand jurors. Traditionally, the clerk also was the custodian of the court's seal, which is used to authenticate copies of the court's orders, judgments and other records.

In common law jurisdictions, the existence of the office of a clerk is one of the typical criteria distinguishing a court of record.

He may be more precisely titled after the (type of) court, e.g. clerk of the peace attending to a justice of the peace, clerk of the police court, etc. On Guernsey, the medieval French term Grieffe is used (in the magistrate's court).

In some jurisdictions, the court clerk is the one who reads the jury's verdict form to the court. In Virginia, the clerk of circuit court may officiate civil weddings.

In courts without a clerk, or if there is no specific officer otherwise available, the judge may have authority to act as clerk of the court, as sometimes in a short-staffed probate court.

In the United States federal courts, each district court, court of appeals, and bankruptcy court, as well as the Supreme Court, has its own clerk, appointed by the judges of the court. The clerk is the custodian of the court's records and also has responsibility for collecting fees and other deposits of money made with the court. The court clerk is not to be confused with the law clerk who assists the judge in making legal determinations. And in the courts within the City of New York, the Court Clerk, who is a Peace Officer, is the highest ranking, non-judicial person in the courtroom. The Court Clerk is the supervisor of the Court Officers in the Courtroom.

In an English Magistrates' Court, where the judges will usually have no legal qualifications, the Court Clerk will be legally qualified. The magistrates decide on the facts at issue; the clerk advises them on the law relating to the case.

References

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