A court clerk (English English clerk to the court; American English clerk of the court or clerk of court) is an officer of the court whose responsibilities include maintaining the records of a court. Another duty is to administer oaths to witnesses, jurors, and grand jurors. The clerk also was the custodian of the court's seal, which is used to authenticate copies of the court's orders, judgments and other records.
The clerk may be more precisely titled after the (type of) court, e.g. clerk of the peace attending to a justice of the peace, clerk of the police court, etc. On Guernsey, the medieval French term greffe is used (in the magistrates' court).
In courts without a clerk, or if there is no specific officer otherwise available, the judge may have authority to act as clerk of the court, as sometimes in a short-staffed probate court.
In the federal court system, each district court, court of appeals, and bankruptcy court, as well as the Supreme Court, has its own clerk, appointed by the judges of the court. The clerk is the custodian of the court's records and also has responsibility for collecting fees and other deposits of money made with the court.
England and Wales
In the magistrates' courts of England and Wales, where the bench will usually have no legal qualifications, the Court Clerk will be legally qualified. The magistrates decide on the facts at issue; the clerk advises them on the law relating to the case.
- "Magistrates and Magistrates' Courts". Her Majesty's Courts Service. Retrieved 2008-06-24.