Gov. Patrick signs voir dire, guardianship bills into law

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014
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On Wednesday, Aug. 6, Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed two Massachusetts Bar Association backed bills into law. The MBA strongly advocated for the two measures.

Voir dire

Chapter 254 of the Acts of 2014 will permit attorneys to question jurors in civil and criminal trials throughout the Superior Court, bringing Massachusetts in line with 39 other states permitting attorney conducted voir dire. It would also permit plaintiffs to specify an amount for damages. The bill gives discretion to judges to impose reasonable limitations on the voir dire process.

"I'm so grateful for the many fine and committed attorneys who have been striving for this measure of fairness for decades," said Massachusetts Bar Association President Douglas K. Sheff. "This bill assures that all litigants are treated equally and helps to remove unfair bias and misinformation from the selection of our juries and the manner in which our cases are litigated."

Click here to view the bill.

Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJ)

Chapter 225 of the Acts of 2014 clarifies adult guardianships and conservatorships when multiple jurisdictions are involved. Massachusetts now joins 38 other states that have adopted the UAGPPJ.