Top: MBA President Robert W. Harnais (left) presided over his final HOD meeting on May 19. President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano (right) will succeed Harnais as president on September 1.
Bottom: The MBA's House of Delegates met in Framingham for the final meeting of the 2015-16 association year.
The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates voted to
submit comments on a proposed Trial Court rule governing access to
public records at the HOD meeting on May 19, at the Sheraton
In a unanimous vote, the HOD supported the submission of separate
comments from both the Criminal Justice Section Council and Probate
Law Section Council on proposed Trial Court Rule XIV, Uniform Rules
on Public Access to Court Records.
The comments from the Criminal Justice Section Council ask that
data from criminal cases and family law cases (except estate cases,
as now available) and financial information from these cases not be
made available to the public on the Trial Court website. In
addition, the comments note the need to address the problem of
errors in records and landlords using the online Housing Court
database to reject housing applicants who had prior landlord-tenant
Comments from the Probate Law Section Council call for
supporting public online access to the following documents: Order
of Informal Probate of Will and/or Appointment of Personal
Representative, Decree and Order on Petition for Formal
Adjudication, Bonds, and Appointment of Special Representative and
allowed wills. The comments also ask that the Attorneys Internet
Portal allow access to imaging of all documents unless otherwise
impounded, as well as remote access to all cases, regardless of
whether an attorney has entered an appearance.
In other business, the HOD voted to support in principle the
proposed changes to HB.4107, "An Act relative to child-centered
family law," made by the Family Law Section Council. The HOD also
voted to support in principle HB.43, "An Act relative to the
Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act."
MBA President Robert W. Harnais, presiding over his final HOD
meeting as president, thanked those in attendance for their
continued support throughout the year. Harnais highlighted the
creation of a statewide MBA Section 35 Helpline as the most
meaningful accomplishment of his presidency.
In addition to his legislative update, Chief Legal Counsel and
Chief Operating Officer Martin W. Healy, announced that three
members had submitted applications to serve on the Executive
Management Board: Peter T. Elikann, Lee J. Gartenberg and Scott D.
Peterson. All three were voted in unanimously.
The meeting concluded with the ceremonial passing of the
president's gavel from Harnais to President-elect Jeffrey N.
Catalano, who will succeed Harnais as president on September 1.
Following the meeting, the MBA hosted a dinner for leaders of the
county bar associations.