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​What SCAO Does and Does Not Do 


SCAO is charged with helping Michigan trial courts operate effectively so that they can serve the public.


  • SCAO collects data on courts' caseloads, including the types of cases each court hears and how long it takes the court to resolve cases;
  • SCAO mediates disputes between courts and their funding units or other government officials and agencies;
  • SCAO provides technological assistance, including computer hardware, software, and training;
  • SCAO assesses whether individual courts need more or fewer judges and sharing that information with the Legislature;
  • SCAO provides continuing education, including publications, for judges and court staff in a wide variety of areas;
  • SCAO educates the public about the judicial branch;
  • SCAO assigns judges and retired judges to fill in temporarily for an absent judge;
  • SCAO issues statewide policy for court operations, such as case reporting requirements and time guidelines for deciding cases;
  • SCAO helps courts improve collection of court-imposed fines, fees, and costs, much of which goes into state funds and to local governments;
  • SCAO assists friend of the court offices with training and technical support;
  • SCAO offers legislative changes to improve the administration of justice, and reacting to legislation that would affect the courts;
  • SCAO oversees courts' involvement in various child welfare issues, and offering ways to improve courts' handling of cases involving children who are or may become court wards;
  • SCAO provides training and other support for local community dispute resolution centers throughout Michigan.

SCAO cannot change the result of an individual case. SCAO cannot change a judge's decision. Only an appellate court can do that.

  • SCAO cannot order a judge, referee, or magistrate to rule a certain way.
  • SCAO cannot change a court order regarding child support, parenting time, or child custody.
  • SCAO is not a child welfare placement or direct service agency. SCAO cannot assist with adoptions or foster care placements.
  • SCAO cannot give legal advice. If you need an attorney, contact the State Bar of Michigan at (800) 968-1442 or visit the State Bar's website at
  • SCAO does not license attorneys or handle grievances against attorneys. The State Bar of Michigan (800-968-1442) can tell you if an attorney is licensed to practice law. If you believe that an attorney has acted unethically, contact the Attorney Grievance Commission at (313) 961-6585 or visit the Commission's website at
  • SCAO cannot remove a judge from office. Voters can; they have the power to not re-elect a judge. The Michigan Supreme Court can remove a judge from office, but only after a Judicial Tenure Commission proceeding. If a judge is found to have committed serious misconduct, the Michigan Supreme Court may then decide to remove that judge from office. If you believe that a judge has acted unethically, contact the Judicial Tenure Commission at (313) 875-5110 or visit the Tenure Commission's website at
  • SCAO does not handle bankruptcies or have information about how to declare bankruptcy. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ( may be reached at (313) 234-0068. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan ( may be reached at (616) 456-2693 or (906) 226-2117.
  • SCAO does not conduct criminal investigations. If you believe a crime may have been committed, contact your local prosecutor or law enforcement entity.