Clerk of Courts
Court Administrator Offices
The Clerk of Courts acts like a traffic cop, directing the flow of criminal and civil cases. The Clerk’s office is staffed with knowledgeable employees, but the employees can’t provide legal advice. Don’t go to the Clerk’s office looking for someone to help you make a decision on a legal matter—they can’t tell you what to do.
The Clerk’s office is where court papers get filed. They also set deadlines and schedules for cases. People in the Clerk of Courts office cannot change court deadlines; only judges can do that. If you have a legal matter with a deadline (like answering a complaint), the Clerk’s office cannot give you an extension. Only a judge can do that after a hearing at which the plaintiff (the person suing) has the right to appear and be heard.
Note: Every state courthouse has a “Self Help Center” where there is a desktop computer and telephone. When you pick up the telephone, it automatically rings to a staff office in Minneapolis where a staff member can help with court forms and processes (but who still can’t provide legal advice).