Service Desk  

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Scope of Services

What We Do

  • Guide people to legal information on the SHC website, District Court websites, and other legal resources on the Internet
  • Explain how to complete court forms; recommend educational materials; and connect people with community resources
  • Educate people on the law, court procedures, and court rules
  • Explain possible legal options available outside the court system
  • Give referrals to other government and social service agencies

What We Are Not Allowed to Do

  • Legal research for specific people or cases
  • Apply the law to anyone's specific facts to reach legal conclusions
  • Give legal advice
  • Recommend a particular option, or
  • Offer legal strategies

No Legal Advice

Like all court staff, we CANNOT give legal advice. We work within the limits of Rule 110 (MN Gen. Rules of Prac.), which requires staff to educate people about available legal resources, legal aid services and lawyer referral programs.

TIPS for Court Staff to Avoid Giving Legal Advice:

  • Talk about hypothetical third-persons who want to complete a court action (e.g., "If a person wants to change an existing custody order, they would use the form called Motion to Modify Custody...")
  • Be careful when referring people to specific laws and caution them that other laws might also apply to their situation.
  • Explain to people what "legal advice" means, for example:
    - applying the law to your facts
    - giving you a legal opinion or conclusion
    - telling you what option would be best in your situation
    - predicting what your chances are in winning your case
  • Refer to lawyer referral services and legal advice programs

 

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