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What Court Staff Can and Cannot Do

Court How-Tos (Civil Procedure)

Information on what type of services a court can offer.

In general, court staff can explain the services of a court and can answer questions about the process, but they cannot provide legal advice. For any legal advice, you will need to consult with an attorney.

What can court staff do?

  • All court staff must remain impartial and neutral at all times.  

  • Review your papers for completeness. This means they will check for signatures, notarization, correct county name, correct case number, and attachments.  

  • Provide accurate information to all members of the public. 

  • Explain and answer questions about how the court works such as hours of operation, hearing schedules, and the type of proceeding on the docket. 

  • Give you the phone number of the local lawyer referral service, legal services program, Texas State Bar lawyer referral service, and other services where legal information is available. 

  • Refer self-represented litigants to a law library or the court’s website for forms, court rules, and statutes. 

  • Give general information about court rules, procedures, and practices.  

  • Provide court schedules and information on how to get a case scheduled. 

  • Give you information from your case file such as when and where your next hearing is. 

  • Give you samples of court forms that are available. 

  • Provide explanations for legal terms 

What can't court staff do?

  • They cannot provide legal advice, interpretations, or recommendations about what to do. (Only attorneys licensed to practice by the Supreme Court may give legal advice.) 

  • Recommend specific attorneys. 

  • Provide you with their opinion or guidance. 

  • Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court, and what steps to take while in court. 

  • Give an opinion/prediction about what will happen if you bring your case to court.  

  • Tell you what words to use in your court papers.  

  • Recommend what to say in court.  

  • Talk to the judge for you. 

  • Change an order signed by a judge.  

  • Tell you what deadlines apply in your case.  

  • Fill out a form for you or tell you what words to use in court papers. 

  • Provide legal interpretations. 

  • Provide confidential or restricted information about court operations, other parties, and case information.  

What if I need an attorney to help me?

If you need the help of an attorney, you should visit the State Bar's referral directory or contact a lawyer referral service. Or use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Directory.

Where can I find more information on what a court can help me with?

Visit Texas Court Help for more information and a video on this subject. 

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