Why Court Clerks cannot assist with legal advice, explained by Richard Smalley, Esq
The problem remains that many people who need legal advice cannot not get it unless they have the resources to at least consult with a lawyer. Oklahoma attorney Richard E. Smalley explains in a new article.
By: The Smalley Law Firm
You might have seen in movies where a person being sued runs to the courthouse, is sent from one desk to another, and finally one merciful court clerk with large, horn-rimmed librarian glasses, reveals the legal strategy that ends the legal quagmire. But that happens only in the movies. In real life, court clerks are not allowed to dispense legal advice. That can make life more difficult for any pro se litigant, and burdens the legal system as a whole.
That courts and clerks cannot provide legal advice in Oklahoma is prominently stated in documents and on websites. The website of Piedmont Court procedures notes:
"It is important to note right at the beginning that the City staff cannot give you any legal advice. The Judge and the Prosecutors are prohibited by the applicable rules of conduct from giving you legal advice concerning your charge. The court clerk and her staff are not attorneys and the law does not allow non-attorneys to give legal advice. Please do not ask these people for legal advice." http://www.piedmont-
The Handbook for County Clerks of Oklahoma notes: "Court Clerks cannot practice law in the District Court in which they serve. The Court Clerk or Deputies should make clear to any individual that providing legal information is unethical and illegal and they cannot give legal advice or recommend a particular attorney." http://agecon.okstate.edu/
Similarly, the info sheet of the United States District Court Western District of Oklahoma, Questions and Answers, notes "The time limit for filing a lawsuit depends on the types of claims raised in the lawsuit. This issue is one of federal and state law and the clerk's office cannot give you legal advice on the issue or tell you how long you may have to file a lawsuit." http://www.okwd.uscourts.gov/
Richard E. Smalley, III is an attorney in Norman, Oklahoma. He is an AV-rated trial attorney with more than 30 years' experience.
The Smalley Law Firm
Richard E. Smalley, Esq.