Introduction and Overview

After a hearing, the clerk is generally responsible for cleaning up the courtroom, placing written and audio files back where they belong, collecting fines, possibly drafting orders for the judges, and delivering orders to all parties.

The courtroom must be restored to the way it was prior to the hearing, rearranging the room back to the original configuration if the room has multiple purposes. The clerk is usually the person responsible for picking up trash, emptying the coffee pot, removing any court equipment, and disposing of any written notes not needed in the case file by shredding or burning.

All case related materials need to be removed from the courtroom and put back into their proper files and storage places. If recording tapes or disks were used, they need to be marked with the case number, date, and time of the proceeding as well as the numbers on the recording device that correspond with the beginning and end of the proceeding. The case for the tape or disk should also be labeled accordingly.

The clerk may need to collect fines or fees related to the case. Payment should be noted in the case file as well as in the ledger for the tribal court finances. Cash and checks need to be placed in a locked and secure drawer and be accounted for. A receipt should be filled out and given to the payer and a copy of the receipt entered into the file.

The clerk may be involved in drafting orders for the tribal court judges to review, and is almost always responsible for sending Orders to Parties. If there a follow-up hearing is necessary, the clerk is responsible for putting it on the court calendar and sending Notices prior to such hearings. When there are critical tasks like this to do in the future, it helps to enter them on the calendar so that an automatic reminder pops up when they need to be done.

Tribal court clerks have a tremendous job in keeping tribal courts organized and on track with all of the tasks and services that tribal courts provide. Clerks are the backbone of the tribal courts and play a critical role in maintaining and providing continuity for managing the flow of business from the time the court is petitioned to hear a case until that case is closed. Tribal court clerks are also the persons on the forefront of establishing beneficial relationships with other courts and agencies with which the court must interface.