Assistance from Clerk's Office
List of Assistance That is Available at the Clerk’s Office
The Clerk’s Office is prohibited from giving legal advice. At the Clerk’s Office, however, you may examine copies of the following materials:
- the Bankruptcy Code (tile 11, U.S. Code)
- provisions of title 28, U.S. Code (governing such things as jurisdiction and fees)
- Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure,
- Official Bankruptcy Forms,
- Local Bankruptcy Rules and Local Forms,
- computers to retrieve the electronic docket sheet for each bankruptcy case and proceeding, to review papers filed in bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings,
- eventually, computers with access limited to certain websites having information pertinent to bankruptcy (such as www.uscourts.gov)
All of that information is accessible on the court’s website for free. The information available elsewhere on the court’s website may be more extensive than what is available at the Clerk’s Office because internet access is restricted at the Clerk’s Office.
As mentioned elsewhere on this website, the court has prohibited the clerk’s office and the chambers staff of the court’s judges from giving legal advice. For example, they cannot:
- Explain the meaning of a particular statutory provision or rule
- Give an interpretation of case law
- Explain the result of taking or not taking action in a case
- Help you complete forms, or advise you regarding what is legally required when a form elicits information from you
- Tell you whether jurisdiction is proper in a case
- Tell you whether a complaint properly presents a claim Provide advice on the best procedure to accomplish a particular goal
- Apply a rule or statute
- Explain who should receive proper notice or service
The judge in a case cannot give you legal advice or assist you in the case. The judge’s job is to supervise and administer the entire case and to resolve disputes between the parties, and the judge must remain impartial (not lean in favor of one side). You cannot engage in socalled ex parte communications with the judge (meaning only you communicating with the judge):
- You cannot contact the judge to have a conversation about the case.
- When you file a paper seeking some form of relief from a judge, you must serve any person who might be adversely affected were the relief granted or who might otherwise be interested in the matter.