May 7, 2024


Government Relations and Public Affairs
187 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401


New Court Help Access & Information Center opens in Allegany County

CUMBERLAND, Md. – On May 1, members of the Maryland Judiciary and the Maryland Center for Legal Assistance (MCLA), a subsidiary of Maryland Legal Aid, celebrated the grand opening of the Court Help Access & Information Center in Allegany County. The center officially opened in February and began offering video-access consultations to self-represented litigants. Although this center is in the circuit court, litigants with District Court matters can also find assistance at the center.

“The new center gives the Circuit Court for Allegany County an opportunity to assist self-represented litigants with a variety of civil legal matters, including landlord-tenant, divorce, custody, small claims, expungement, consumer matters, and more,” said Administrative Judge Jeffery S. Getty, Circuit Court for Allegany County. “Although the help center has been open for only two months, it has already made a tremendous positive impact for the self-represented as they navigate the court system.”

Through local court help centers, Maryland residents can receive assistance with civil legal matters, including landlord-tenant, family law issues such as divorce, custody, child support, and guardianship, expungement, consumer matters including debt collection, the return of property, domestic violence and peace orders, and foreclosure. Additionally, court help center attorneys help individuals better understand court documents and may assist with completing court forms, teaching individuals how to file court documents, and prepare for court or mediation. Last year, Maryland court help centers offered more than 200,000 instances of service statewide to self-represented litigants.

“Court help centers are a flagship program of the Judiciary. They provide increased access to justice for the unrepresented,” said Supreme Court of Maryland Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader. “The help centers are crucial to advancing the Judiciary’s mission of providing fair, efficient, and effective justice to all, as the center staff provide a variety of services to ensure that those without counsel can access the courts effectively. They also are able to provide a bridge to retain counsel in appropriate cases.”

“The Judiciary has come a long way since 2009 when we started the implementation of local court help centers, and now Marylanders throughout the state are able to get this important assistance,” said District Court of Maryland Chief Judge John P. Morrissey. “We have leveraged technology and expanded the hours of service to better improve everyone’s access to justice.”

"We are here today to celebrate the expansion of services to the good people of Allegany County, but underlying this and the reason for why I am so proud to be here today is the opportunity to celebrate the continued partnership and deeply held commitment of the Maryland Judiciary, Maryland Legal Aid, and the Maryland Center for Legal Assistance,” said Tommy Fischer, managing director of Maryland Center for Legal Assistance. Innovations such as this are not possible without partnerships and a deeply held commitment from all parties to eliminate barriers to the pursuit of and access to justice."

The new Court Help Access & Information Center, located in the Annex building of the Circuit Court for Allegany County, is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., providing legal assistance to unrepresented litigants.

The Judiciary also runs a statewide center that serves litigants remotely via phone, live chat, and email, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information on the Maryland Courts Help Centers, visit:

New Allegany Help Center opens in Charles County
Right to left: Tommy Fischer, managing director of Maryland Center for Legal Assistance; Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader, Supreme Court of Maryland; Administrative Judge Jeffery S. Getty, Circuit Court for Allegany County; Chief Judge John P. Morrissey, District Court of Maryland; State Court Administrator Judy Rupp

Bradley Tanner
Public Information Officer
[email protected]

Terri Charles
Asst. Public Information Officer
[email protected]