Commonly Used Acronyms and Legal Terms Related to Maine Courts

For definitions of general legal terms, law dictionaries are available in libraries and online. Listed below are some resources available online.

ACRONYMS  
ADTC Adult Drug Treatment Court
AOC Administrative Office of the Courts
ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution
Arrs. Arraignments
BCD Business and Consumer Docket
CADRES Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service
CASA Court Appointed Special Advocate
CMR Code of Maine Rules
CR Criminal case (docketing abbreviation)
CR TD Criminal trailing docket
CV Civil case (docketing abbreviation)
CV TD Civil trailing docket
DV Domestic violence
FED Forcible entry and detainer (eviction action)
FM Family case (docketing abbreviation)
FM TD Family trailing docket
GAL Guardian Ad Litem
I/C In custody
J./JJ. Judge or Justice/Judges or Justices
LEP Limited English proficiency
MEJIS Maine Judicial Information Service (the docketing system)
MRS/MRSA

Maine Revised Statutes/Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (Maine's code of laws)
The Maine Revised Statutes are published on the Office of the Revisor of Statutes website at this link http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/search.htm.

Copies of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated are available at the Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library.

OAS/OAR Operating after suspension/Operating after revocation
OUI Operating under the influence
PA/PFA Protection from abuse
PH/PFH Protection from harassment
PC Child protection case (docketing abbreviation)
PC TD Child protection trailing docket
P.L. Public Law (Maine's term for session laws enacted by the Legislature for codification)
PR&R Parental Rights and Responsibilities
PTC Pretrial Conference
RE Real Estate (docketing abbreviation)
SC Small Claims
SJC Supreme Judicial Court
TPR Termination of Parental Rights
TTP Time to pay
UCD Unified Criminal Docket
USC Unlawful Sexual Contact
VCR/VCOR Violation of a Condition of Release
TERMS  
Administrative Office of the Courts The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) administers all Maine courts, except the Probate Courts, which are administered by counties. The leader of the Administrative Office is the State Court Administrator. The responsibilities of the AOC include, but are not limited to, personnel management, responses to information requests, financial oversight, maintenance of facilities, and annual reporting.
Administrative Order An order issued by the Supreme Judicial Court, regarding one or all of the courts and offices of the Judicial Branch, which order, directs, changes, or clarifies a practice or procedure of any court which is intended to have an effect on its customers or the general public in its dealings with the court.
Alternative dispute resolution Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a process designed to resolve a disagreement separate from court decision-making. Mediation and arbitration are examples of alternative dispute resolution. Sometimes, alternative dispute resolution is required (mandatory). Sometimes it is optional.
Attorney General The Attorney General is the chief lawyer for the State of Maine. The Attorney General is elected by the Legislature. Visit www.maine.gov/ag/ for more information about the duties of the Attorney General.
Bar Counsel Bar Counsel is the attorney who represents the Board of Overseers of the Bar in investigating and prosecuting disciplinary proceedings against attorneys before the Grievance Commission, the Board, and the court.
Board of Overseers of the Bar The Board of Overseers of the Bar controls the conduct of lawyers as officers of the court. To this end, the Board enforces the Maine Bar Rules and the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern attorney conduct.
Business and Consumer Docket The Business and Consumer Docket (BCD) is a statewide docket for selected actions involving business and/or consumer disputes.
Clerks

Clerks of court are responsible for accepting materials filed by parties and attorneys, scheduling court events, and docketing the events in pending cases, among other things.

Law clerks, by contrast, assist judges by conducting legal research and writing, among other things.

Code of Maine Rules The Code of Maine Rules is a collection of the rules and regulations of Maine's state agencies. The rules are available at this link www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/rules.html.
Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability The Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability is charged with supervising the conduct and discipline of judges in Maine. The Committee does not consider appeals regarding specific cases. More information is available on the Committee's website at this link www.jrd.maine.gov/.
Co-Occurring Disorders Court The Co-Occurring Disorders Court operates in Augusta, working with defendants with the most challenging mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. All who are admitted to the Court have pleaded guilty to a serious crime and have a past history of frequent incarceration.
Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service The Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Service receives applications from neutral decision-makers and generates a roster of qualified neutral decision-makers who serve as mediators, arbitrators, or evaluators.
Court Appointed Special Advocate The Court Appointed Special Advocate program allows qualified volunteers to act as guardians ad litem for abused and neglected children in child protection proceedings.
Court Reporter A court reporter keeps a word-for-word record of court proceedings and will produce a transcript upon request.
District Attorney District Attorneys are lawyers elected within prosecutorial districts to prosecute State criminal charges and represent the counties in civil matters.
District Court The District Court was created by the Legislature in 1961. There are thirty-three District Court judges. In the District Court, the cases are tried before a judge without a jury. The District Court has jurisdiction over juvenile matters and family matters, including divorces and cases involving parental rights.
Drug Courts

The Adult Drug Treatment Court provides comprehensive monitoring and treatment referral to enable recovery from the substance abuse that is a factor in many of the crimes committed.

The Family Treatment Drug Court focuses on families in child protective proceedings when substance abuse is a primary problem. "

Family Division The Family Division is a division of the District Court that handles cases involving children, including divorce, annulment, judicial separation, parental rights and responsibilities, paternity, child support, visitation rights of grandparents, emancipation, and any post-judgment motions arising from these actions.
Fee Arbitration Commission The Fee Arbitration Commission provides an efficient way to resolve disputes between clients and lawyers about disputed legal fees.
Foreclosure Diversion Program The Foreclosure Diversion Program provides informational sessions designed to guide homeowners facing foreclosure in completing required forms, meeting with community resources for individualized assistance (where available), and meeting with the lender and a mediator to try and reach an agreement.
Grievance Commission The Grievance Commission resolves complaints against lawyers for violating the Maine Bar Rules or Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern conduct by lawyers.
Guardian ad litem A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by a court to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation about what is in the best interests of a child or incompetent person.
Interpreters Interpreters are present in court to assist individuals involved in court proceedings who have limited proficiency in speaking English or who have a speech impairment or hearing loss and/or deafness.
Law Court The Supreme Judicial Court sits as the Law Court when it considers appeals from decisions of the Superior, District, and Probate Courts.
Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers The Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a voluntary association of Maine lawyers who represent defendants in criminal cases. www.mainemacdl.org/.
Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services, an independent commission, was established by the Legislature in 2009. Its purpose is to provide high quality representation to Maine citizens who are entitled to counsel at state expense under the United States Constitution or under the Constitution or statutes of Maine. For more information, please visit www.maine.gov/mcils/.
Maine Prosecutors Association The Maine Prosecutors Association is a voluntary association of Maine district attorneys.
Maine Rules of Court The Maine Rules of Court are rules adopted by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to govern procedure, practice, and conduct in the Maine courts. Included are Rules of Civil, Criminal, Probate, Small Claims, and Appellate Procedure; Rules of Evidence; Bar Rules; and Rules of Professional Conduct.
Maine State Bar Association The Maine State Bar Association is a voluntary association of Maine lawyers. For more information, please visit www.mainebar.org/.
Maine Trial Lawyers Association The Maine Trial Lawyers Association is a volunteer organization of Maine trial lawyers. For more information, please visit www.mainebar.org/.
Mandate The mandate is the final paragraph of a Law Court opinion. It communicates what is to happen in a matter.
Memorandum of decision A memorandum of decision is an unpublished decision of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, which summarizes the reasons that the Court decided the appeal as it did.
Office of Transcript Production The Office of Transcript Production is the Judicial Branch office responsible for audio recording court proceedings. This office produces transcripts upon request. The court may instead use a court reporter to record the proceedings.
Opinion (majority, concurring, dissenting) For the Law Court, a published opinion communicates the Court's reasoning and decision in a case. A majority opinion is authored by a single Justice and joined by most of the other Justices. A concurring opinion joins the majority in the result but offers different or additional reasoning. A dissenting opinion is an opinion that disagrees with the majority.
Opinion of the Justices An opinion of the justices is issued when the Senate and House propound questions to the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court involving important questions of law in circumstances that present a solemn occasion. This process is authorized by article VI, section 3 of the Maine Constitution.
Per curiam A per curiam opinion is an opinion issued by the Court speaking as a whole. It is not authored by a single Justice and joined by the other Justices, as with an ordinary opinion.
Pro se parties/self-represented parties A self-represented party, also known as a party appearing pro se (for herself or himself), appears in court without having a lawyer's representation.
Probate Courts The Probate Courts are county courts established by the Maine Constitution in 1820. These courts have jurisdiction over specialized matters involving trusts, estates, adoptions, name changes, guardianships, and protection proceedings.
Professional Ethics Commission The Professional Ethics Commission provides advice to lawyers who would like to know how to avoid violating the Maine Bar Rules and Maine Rules of Professional Conduct in specific circumstances. For more information, please visit, www.mebaroverseers.org/attorney_services/ethics_helpline.html.
Small Claims Court The District Court handles small claims cases involving complaints seeking money judgments of up to $6,000.
Superior Court The Superior Court was created by the Legislature in 1929. The Superior Court conducts jury and non-jury trials in civil and criminal cases, and considers appeals from many decisions of state agencies and other governmental entities. There are sixteen Superior Court justices.
Supreme Judicial Court The Supreme Judicial Court is Maine's highest court and has general administrative authority over the Judicial Branch. The Court was established in 1820 when Maine separated from Massachusetts.
Unified Criminal Docket In Cumberland County and in Bangor, criminal cases and certain related civil violation actions are processed through the Unified Criminal Docket (UCD). This Docket is a pilot project aimed to make criminal case processing more efficient.
Violations Bureau The Maine Judicial Branch Violations Bureau handles traffic infractions for the entire State of Maine through a centralized process.