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New Laws in Effect January 1, 2023

While the bulk of the legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2022 went into effect last October, there are a few new laws whose effective date is this Sunday, including the following:

  • Parts of HB0837: Cannabis Reform
  • HB0017: Campaign Finance: Recurring Contributions and Donations
  • HB0824: Eviction Data Collection and Distribution

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Holiday lawlibrary

Law Library and Court Holiday Closures

Vintage snowflakes

Vintage snowflakes” by thethreesisters is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

The Anne Arundel County Public Law Library and the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County will be closed on the court holidays of Friday, December 23rd, Monday, December 26th, and Monday, January 2nd.

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What’s New… 

Spines of NCLC Automobile Fraud and Warnken's Maryland Criminal Procedure volumes 1 and 2
Covers of NBI titles: Maryland Civil Practice, Procedure, and Forms; Advanced Custody and Support Issues in Maryland; Maryland Real Property Law: Understanding Title, Transfers, and Encumbrances

New and updated titles from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) and the National Business Institute (NBI) are now on our shelves covering used car fraud, custody and child support, real property, civil practice, and criminal procedure. See below:

NCLC 

See all NCLC titles in our catalog. 

NBI

See all NBI titles in our catalog. 

MSBA 

See all MSBA titles in our catalog

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lawlibrary

What’s New…

The Library now has new titles from the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), the National Business Institute (NBI), and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).  

MSBA  

The 2022 seventh edition of Pleading Causes of Action in Maryland from MSBA provides example complaints with updated commentary to help the reader plead their case: 

Pleading causes of action in Maryland. Authors: Paul Mark Sandler, James K. Archibald, & Eleanor T. Chung. KFM1735 .S26 2022 RES 

NBI  

NBI hosts seminars on an array of legal topics for every state jurisdiction. The Library receives the bound Maryland materials that include lectures, presentation slides, and sample forms.  

Mini law school for Maryland HR professionals. Authors: Mitchell Batt, Alexander P. Berg, Douglas W. Desmarais, Andrea E. Murphy. KFM1534 .M56 2022 

Maryland estate administration from start to finish. Authors: Liz Johnson, Roger J. McClure, Krista N. Robertson, Adam M. Spence. KFM1347 .J6 2022 

Auto insurance, UM/UIM, bad faith, and liens in Maryland Authors: Charles W. Kramer, Dennis F. O’Brien, Dustin T. Woehl, Steven B. Vinick. KFM1739 .K7 2022 

Maryland auto injury cases : from accident to trial. Authors: Dennis F. O’Brien, Steven B. Vinick. KFM1739 .I5 2022 

NCLC  

The books in NCLC’s digital collection, available online and in print, are excellent, reader-friendly sources for comprehensive information on consumer debt, credit, mortgages, fraud, litigation, and other topics.  

Fair credit reporting. Authors: Chi Chi Wu, Ariel Nelson ; contributing authors, Elizabeth De Armond [and 6 others]. SELF HELP NCLC KF1040 .R63 2022 

Credit discrimination. Author: Battle, Jeremiah, Jr. SELF HELP NCLC KF697.D5 C74 2022 

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Requesting Emergency Custody

Emergency Relief in Anne Arundel County

Emergency relief is a temporary order of protection from imminent, substantial harm or harassment for you or a minor child. To receive emergency relief, you must be able to show that you or a minor child are truly at risk of imminent, substantial harm or harassment.

How to File for Emergency Relief

Because an emergency relief order is temporary, the court requires you to file for permanent relief, such as for divorce, custody, or custody modification. This additional petition needs to be filed at the same time or earlier than the motion for relief.

The Emergency Custody Packet includes:

  • Instructions for filing
  • Sample motion for emergency and ex parte relief
  • Sample certificate of service
  • Sample notice of emergency hearing
  • Sample declaration that you gave notice to the other party

To receive emergency relief from the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, do the following:

  1. At least 24 hours before the hearing takes place, notify the other person or persons involved in the case (MD Rules, Rule 1-351(b). The form is included in the packet. Emergency relief hearings take place only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:30 pm.
  2. File your motion in room 100 of the first floor of the courthouse before 12:30 pm on the day the hearing will take place.
  3. At the same time or earlier, file for a permanent form of relief, such as divorce, custody, custody modification, etc. Form packets can be found on the family law resource pages.
  4. Serve the other party or parties of your relief motion. The form is included in the packet. Find out more about service of process here.
  5. During the hearing, you must prove that you or a minor child are at risk of immediate and substantial harm or harassment. The court will not grant relief for harm that is based only on speculation. (See Magness v. Magness, 79 Md. App. 668) The court will then decide whether to grant you relief based on the facts you present.

The time length of the relief order depends on your situation.

There are attorneys at the the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Family Court Help Center who can help with this and other family law matters.

Library Print and Electronic Resources

  • Child safety : a guide for judges and attorneys / Therese Roe Lund, Jennifer Renne (American Bar Association, 2009) (KF3735 .L86 2009)

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Information

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lawlibrary Maryland Law

Legal Resources on Adoption

“Air Force family adopts child from Ukraine” from DVIDSHUB is licensed under CC BY 2.0

We now have a resource page on adoption listed on our FAQs page, where you can find relevant laws, online articles, and library materials on adoption law in Maryland.

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Maryland Law Self Represented

Learn About Trusts

Our FAQs page now links to our new resources page on trusts. There, you will find a bibliography of manuals and treatises on the topic, as well as links to relevant statutes, forms, and articles.

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lawlibrary

Using Sample Procedure and Legal Forms

Frequently, patrons ask us if we have official court forms to file for their specific situations. The courts have their own official forms (People’s Law Library lists some of the most frequently used), but more often, people ask for official forms that do not exist.

Fortunately, the library has a wide variety of sample procedure and legal forms that are free to be copied and modified. Procedure forms are for court filings, while those commonly called “legal forms,” most of which are not standardized, are used for all other legal affairs, such as wills, leases, and contracts.

Non-standardized procedure forms can include very general templates, such as blank petitions and blank motions; they can also be more specific (but still general enough to copy), such as motions for summary judgments and counterclaims for bringing in a new party.

Form books and form sets are good sources for all kinds of sample forms and templates. Some are available online through Westlaw or Lexis, others are exclusively in print, available here inside the library. When there is no sample form specific enough to cover a situation, they can be modified.

Form Books and Individual Samples

In addition to forms from Westlaw and Lexis, the Library has a variety of form books in print and has made available additional sample procedure forms for Maryland courts. Below, I have listed them by jurisdiction and subject area, and have also included the Library’s recommended form sets from Lexis and Westlaw.

Maryland

Practice and Procedure Sample Forms
  • Maryland practice forms (MSBA)
    Call Number: KFM1738.A65 M3 2009
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland civil procedure forms: Maryland practice series (George W. Liebmann)
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 L5
    Also on Westlaw
  • Forms from Maryland civil procedure forms (Robert Dale Klein)
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 K64 2000
    Also on Lexis
  • Practice manual for the Maryland lawyer
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 P7 2019
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland litigation forms and analysis /by Gary I. Strausberg, general editor
    Call Number: KFM1730.A65 M372 1998
    Also on Westlaw
Family Law Sample Forms
  • Maryland family law form finder
    On Westlaw
  • Maryland divorce and separation law / editors, John J. Condliffe, Esq. & Debra B. Cruz, Esq.
    See “Marital Settlement Agreements” chapter for sample agreement.
    Call Number: RES KFM1300.M37 2019
    Also on Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland domestic relations forms: with practice commentary / Ann M. Turnbull, Joseph J. Wase
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.A65 T8
    Also on Lexis
  • Forms from Maryland domestic relations forms
    On Lexis
  • Premarital and domestic partnership agreements (MSBA)
    On Lexis and Westlaw
  • Maryland family and juvenile law : practice manual and forms
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.R44 2001
  • Marital settlement agreement – form / Thomas C. Ries, Richard B. Jacobs
    Call Number: KFM1300.M34 2009
  • Maryland family law forms / [Constance K. Putzel, Shelley L. Rothschild … et al.]
    Call Number: KFM1294.M37 2011
  • A practice guide to family law
    Call Number: RES KFM1294.P88 1999
  • Collection of family law forms. Sample forms on this page include several types of answer templates, consent forms, interrogatories, and motions. There are also links to official court forms.
Real Estate
  • Forms from Maryland real estate forms
    On Lexis
  • Maryland real estate forms: practice / Russell R. Reno, Jr., Wilbur E. (Pete) Simmons, Jr., Kevin L. Shepherd ; contributing editor, Michael S. Kosmas
    Call Number: RES KFM1326.A65 R46 2005
    Also on Lexis
  • Maryland real estate leasing forms: practice.
    Call Number: KFM1317.A65 A37 1988
Estates, Wills, and Trusts
  • Maryland estate planning, will drafting, and estate administration forms: practice
    Call Number: KFM1340.A65 B37 1995
    Also on Lexis
  • Probate forms in Maryland : annotated, including pleading, guardian and ward, actions at law and in equity relating to administration and forms of wills / by Philip L. Sykes
    Call Number: KFM1344.A65 S9
  • Contest of wills in Maryland with complete forms / by Philip L. Sykes
    Call Number: KFM1344.5 .C6 S9
  • Maryland estate planning, wills and trusts library : forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1340.A65 G88 1998
  • Maryland estate planning form finder
    On Westlaw
Business and Commercial
  • Maryland corporation law and practice : with forms / by Herbert M. Brune
    Call Number: KFM1413.B7 1953
  • Maryland limited liability company forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1407.5 .A65 M37 1999
  • Maryland secured transactions under revised article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code : forms and practice manual
    Call Number: KFM1375.W58 2000
Criminal
  • Maryland criminal procedure forms and analysis
    Call Number: KFM1775.A65 S653
Employment
  • Maryland employment law : forms and practice manual / Carla N. Murphy, editor ; Sharon A. Snyder, editor
    Call Number: KFM1534.M87
Intellectual Property
  • Maryland intellectual property and technology transactions : forms and practice manual / William S. Galkin
    Call Number: KFM1530.G35 2008
Technology
  • Maryland technology transactions: the Venable practice and forms manual
    Call Number: KFM1530.M37 2002
Practice of Law
  • Legal representation and fee agreements for the Maryland Lawyer: forms and comments Call Number: KFM1277.5 .F4 B36 2009 Also on Lexis and Westlaw

Federal Titles

On Lexis and Westlaw
  • Nichols cyclopedia of federal procedure forms
    On Westlaw
  • Federal procedural forms
    On Westlaw
  • Bender’s federal practice forms
  • On Lexis

Non-Jurisdictional

Print Titles
  • Family law arbitration : practice, procedure, and forms / Carolyn Moran Zack
    Call Number: KF505.5 .Z33 2020
  • Forms, checklists, and procedures for the family lawyer / Mark A. Chinn
    Call Number: KF505.C478 2021
  • The law of crimes and criminal procedure, including forms and precedents
    Call Number: KF9219.H6 1904
On Westlaw
  • American jurisprudence pleading & practice forms annotated
  • American jurisprudence legal forms 2d
  • Lane’s Goldstein litigation forms
  • Fletcher corporation forms annotated
  • McGaffey legal forms with tax analysis / Jere D. McGaffey
  • Handbook of Personal Injury Forms and Litigation Materials
On Lexis
  • Rabkin & Johnson current legal forms with tax analysis / Jacob Rabkin and Mark H. Johnson ; revision author, Volume 1, Stephen E. Pigott
  • Murphy’s will clauses : annotations and forms with tax effects / Joseph H. Murphy, assisted by Beverly Massy Stowell Rounds, updates by John H. Skarbnik
  • Page on the law of wills : including probate, will contests, evidence, taxation, conflicts, estate planning, forms, and statutes relating to wills
  • Bender’s forms of discovery interrogatories

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Finding forms using Westlaw

Westlaw’s Form Finder is a convenient way to search for samples. To get there from the main screen, click on “Forms” in the “All Content” tab (Figure 1).

Westlaw browse screen, "All Content" tab, then "Forms" is ninth on the list.
Figure 1

Once you are on the “Form Finder” screen, you can choose to search for forms by state, by topic (Figure 2), or by publication name.

Figure 2

Once in the search screen, fill in the search fields and press enter.

Some forms, like those in American Jurisprudence Pleading & Practice Forms Annotated, link to captions (Figure 3). A caption is a header in which you would fill in information about the court, the plaintiff, and the defendant if applicable (Figure 4).

Figure 3
Figure 4

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Finding forms using Lexis

From Lexis’s main screen, click “Sample Forms” under the “Content” tab (Figure 5), which will send you to the Sample Forms page. There, you can choose to search by state or practice area (Figure 6). On the next screen, you can search all forms under the heading you chose or add the second state or practice area filter to make your search more precise. More precise is not always better, however, because you could filter out relevant results.

Figure 5
Figure 6

Unfortunately, there is no federal option listed with all the state options on the sample forms page.

To search for sample forms for federal courts, on the home screen click on “Federal” under “Explore Content,” then click on “All Federal” in the second section (Figure 7) (Be careful not to click “All Federal Cases”).

Figure 7

On the “All Federal” page, you can then scroll down to “Forms” and click “All Federal Forms” (Figure 8)

Figure 8

There you can choose to search all the federal form books or search an individual title (Figure 9).

Figure 9

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Categories
lawlibrary Maryland Law

Tax Season is Upon Us 

Tax filings are due in less than a month, and like many, you have probably been putting them off. Fortunately, there are online tools and helpful information available through our library for those who just need the tools and forms to get them done, learn more specific aspects about tax filing, or become more proficient in tax law.

General Tax Filing Information and Tools 

Assistance 

Appeals 

Library Resources  

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lawlibrary

Writing for Everyone: The Benefits of Plain Language

Girl happily reading
Closson, William Baxter. “Girl Reading.” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Museum of American History, Division of Graphic Arts, Smithsonian Institution

Most non-lawyers would probably agree that legal writing is difficult and hard to understand. Latin, French, Old English and Anglo-Norman terms abound, as do double negatives and coupled synonyms (like “null and void”). This jargon is strewn across lengthy, complex sentences that may need to be read several times – with a legal dictionary – to understand, if at all.

While frustrating, there are reasons for the strangeness of legalese. It should not allow any ambiguity, which means the language needs to be as precise and accurate as possible, to the point where specialized terms and lengthy, comprehensive text are sometimes necessary. Everyday speech evolves all the time and can cause disagreements, while the constancy – hence antiqueness – of legal language is intended to prevent these disagreements.  

The danger of misinterpreting the law and legal documents is, of course, why people need lawyers. Unfortunately, lawyers are too expensive for most people to afford. They are also surprisingly few: for every 10,000 Marylanders, there are only 40 lawyers available, and there are just 1.49 lawyers who provide pro bono or low-fee services for every 10,000 low-income Marylanders. As a result, there is a huge number of people fending for themselves in the court system. That said, shouldn’t the lawyer-less, who are still subject to local and federal laws, be able to understand those laws without an interpreter?   

A great number of people and organizations say yes, hence the passage of the Plain Writing Act of 2010. This act requires all federal agencies publish their documents in plain language. While legal language is intended to minimize ambiguity, it is probably safe to say that most people skip reading lengthy and incomprehensible legal documents. When is the last time you checked “accept” for an online agreement without taking the time to scroll through the small print? These poorly understood contracts can enable unpleasant surprises down the road and cause the very disputes they are meant to prevent.  

Some of the guidance on plain writing best practices, such as white space, bullet points, headings, and active voice, could benefit legal professionals as well. While research studies on this last point are scant, a 1987 study by Robert Benson and Joan Kessler did suggest that documents written in clearer, plainer English are deemed more convincing by judges.  

That said, writing clearly, plainly, and accurately in a way most people can understand is hard. In writing this blog post, I could not make its readability go below an 11th grade level, according to Microsoft Word’s readability statistics (here’s how to find that function). There are information hubs, guidelines, tools, and samples to help with this, however.

Here are a few resources: