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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Self-Help at the Law Library

Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) can access the same print and electronic resources attorneys use. Learn more about our legal research resources and help with forms.

Family Law Help

Assistance specific to Family Law issues may be available at the Circuit Court's Walk-in Family Law Self-Help Center.

The Women's Law Center of Maryland offers help in the following areas:

  • Domestic Violence including Protective Order Advocacy and Representation Project (POARP) assistance and representation in Circuit or District Court—410-887-3162 or 410-321-8761, extension 130
  • Family Law Hotline—800-845-8550, weekdays 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Family Law Representation Eligibility—410-321-8761, extension 130
  • Employment Law Hotline—877-422-9500
    • Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • First Thursday of every month from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Online Resources

Forms

While the Judiciary does offer official forms, those forms do not cover the wide range of possible court filings. This is especially true of the Circuit Court where most forms must be created by an attorney or by the person representing themselves. Court employees can only provide limited help with forms, since selecting a particular form for people and suggesting what to say on a form fall under the definition of "practicing law." Please understand that we try to provide the best assistance with forms that is legally permitted. Some of the most requested forms at the Law Library are:

Additional Resources

Laws and Codes

The laws passed by Maryland's General Assembly are different from the Code. These are published in the Laws of Maryland and they are the purest form of the law. Once the General Assembly passes a bill in both houses, that bill is sent to the Governor to sign. Once the Governor signs a bill, that bill then become a chapter in the Acts of Maryland. Chapters are numbered sequentially in the order they were signed by the Governor. The Law Library's print collection of the Laws of Maryland begins in 1765. This collection is substantial, but not complete. 

The Code is an organized collection of those laws. Most bills signed into law adjust the Code by repealing and enacting sections of the Code. Sometimes a law is created that does not alter the Maryland Code.

County Government

There are three different government structures for Maryland counties:

  • Code Home Rule
  • Commissioner
  • Charter Home Rule

Baltimore County is a charter home rule county, meaning its legislative and executive authority are derived from a constitution-like document called a charter. This form of government is permitted under Article XI-A of the Maryland Constitution.

However, the General Assembly may enact laws for a single charter county on a subject not contained in their “express powers” (Article XI-A Section 2). These are called Public Local Laws. These may be found on the General Assembly's legislation page by selecting Public Local Laws in the "Subject" search field.

The Maryland Association of Counties has a wealth of information about the government and legal structures of Maryland counties.

 
Revised March 4, 2021         

 

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