Friend of Court
“Friend of the Court” program:
On the domestic side of the law, Orders of Protection require a hearing in court after their initial issuance. At the hearing the parties must appear in court so the judge can determine if there are grounds to either continue the restraining protections of the Order or terminate them. The courtroom is usually crowded with litigants on the morning of these hearings. To facilitate the processing of these cases, our Bar Association member, attorney Philip Jacobs, created a volunteer, “Friend of the Court” program whereby Bradley County attorneys sign up in advance to volunteer their time as a Friend of the Court at each of these hearings.
A “Friend of the Court” attorney does not provide legal advice to litigants. Instead, the attorney’s function is to help the court’s administration of these hearings by discussing with the litigants in the courtroom, before they appear before the judge, whether or not they can agree as to the need to continue the restraints, or the desire to dismiss them. Those that desire to discontinue the restraints will be reported to the court for streamlined processing. Those that need to continue the restraints will be noted to the court for a hearing that morning. The process has significantly streamlined the moving of these cases through the morning docket, freeing the judge to hear only those cases needing a hearing.