County Clerk Resources
The following selected resources pertain to the county clerk's role and responsibilities as clerk of the court for the circuit court. The county clerk and deputy clerks should be familiar with these resources.
Role and Authority
The county clerk has the constitutional responsibility to be the clerk of the circuit court. Michigan Constitution of 1963, Art. VI, § 14. The county clerk of each county shall be the clerk of the circuit court for the county. MCL 600.571(a). For details about appointment, bonding, hours of operation, and duties and responsibilities, see Section 5-09 of the Michigan Trial Court Administration Reference Guide.
Oversight of the County Clerk
The Michigan Constitution of 1963, Art. VI, § 14, and MCL 600.571(a) designate the county clerk as the clerk of the circuit court for that county. As such, the county clerk in his or her role as clerk of the circuit court performs functions in the judicial branch of government and is therefore subject to the direction of the circuit court in all matters of court administration that are reserved exclusively for the judiciary under the Michigan constitution, article 3, §2, article 6, §1, and article 6, §5.
In addition to the care and custody of the court’s records pursuant to statute and complying with records and case file management standards established pursuant to order of the Supreme Court and Michigan Court Rule, the clerk of the circuit court is also required to perform noncustodial ministerial duties as directed by the court. Lapeer County Clerk v Lapeer Circuit Court, 469 Mich 146 (2003).
Conduct and Ethics
In their role as clerks of the circuit courts, county clerks and their deputies should respect and observe the law and conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence and the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system. Most courts have adopted a code of conduct that specifies their staff to conform to ethical standards and to avoid conflict of interest. A Model Code of Conduct for Michigan Trial Court Employees has been developed by the Michigan Judicial Institute.
Case File and Records Management
The clerk of the court and their deputies are required to comply with the records standards in MCR 8.119 and as otherwise prescribed by the Michigan Supreme Court and the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). The clerk must keep records in the form and style that the trial court prescribes, as well as in accordance with SCAO standards. In addition to the information on this page, see also Records Management and Section 4 of the Michigan Trial Court Administration Reference Guide for other resources on access to records, educating and training, reporting requirements, criminal history reporting, and records management services.
The county clerk must submit reports about the court’s business to the SCAO and to local and state government entities. Many of these reports are submitted through MCAP. See the list of reporting requirements. MCR 8.119(L). MCR 8.119(L).