1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Compretta
House Bill 1345
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 9-5-3 AND 9-17-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT IN DISTRICTS WITH A COURT ADMINISTRATOR THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR SHALL ASSIGN CAUSES AND DOCKETS IN CHANCERY COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 9-5-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-5-3. (1) The state shall be divided into an appropriate number of chancery court districts, severally numbered and comprised of the counties as set forth in the sections which follow. A court to be styled "The Chancery Court of the County of ____" shall be held in each county, and within each judicial district of a county having two (2) judicial districts, at least twice a year. From and after January 1, 1995, the dates upon which court shall be held in chancery court districts consisting of a single county shall be the same dates state agencies and political subdivisions are open for business excluding legal holidays. The dates upon which terms shall commence and the number of days for which terms shall continue in chancery court districts consisting of more than one (1) county shall be set by order of the chancellor in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section. A matter in court may extend past such terms if the interest of justice so requires.
(2) An order establishing the commencement and continuation of terms of court for each of the counties within a chancery court district consisting of more than one (1) county shall be entered annually and not later than October 1 of the year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such terms of court are to become effective. Notice of the dates upon which the terms of court shall commence and the number of days for which such terms shall continue in each of the counties within a chancery court district shall be posted in the office of the chancery clerk of each county within the district and mailed to the office of the Secretary of State for publication and distribution to all members of the Mississippi Bar. In the event that an order is not timely entered as herein provided, the terms of court for each of the counties within any such chancery court district shall remain unchanged for the next calendar year.
(3) The number of chancellorships for each chancery court district shall be determined by the Legislature based upon the following criteria:
(a) The population of the district;
(b) The number of cases filed in the district;
(c) The case load of each chancellor in the district;
(d) The geographic area of the district;
(e) An analysis of the needs of the district by the court personnel of the district; and
(f) Any other appropriate criteria.
(4) The Judicial College of the University of Mississippi Law Center and the Administrative Office of Courts shall determine the appropriate:
(a) Specific data to be collected as a basis for applying the above criteria;
(b) Method of collecting and maintaining the specified data; and
(c) Method of assimilating the specified data.
(5) In a district having more than one (1) office of chancellor, there shall be no distinction whatsoever in the powers, duties and emoluments of those offices except that the chancellor who has been for the longest time continuously a chancellor of that court or, should no chancellor have served longer in office than the others, the chancellor who has been for the longest time a member of the Mississippi Bar, shall be the senior chancellor. The senior chancellor shall set terms. In districts which do not have a court administrator, the senior chancellor shall have the right to assign causes and dockets. In districts which have a court administrator, the court administrator shall assign causes and dockets.
SECTION 2. Section 9-17-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-17-3. It shall be the duty of the court administrator to:
(a) Perform all nonjudicial tasks of the court;
(b) Maintain all statistical reports;
(c) Serve as liaison with the general public and members of the bar;
(d) Coordinate and assist in the duties of the clerks of the courts of the district related to the judicial duties of the clerks;
(e) Provide general administrative support for all judges and chancellors of the district; * * *
(f) Perform other duties assigned by the judges; and
(g) Where applicable, to assign causes and dockets as provided in Section 9-5-3.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.