Our dedicated judges, commissioners, and court staff are committed to engaging in active dialogues with the community about subjects including the role of the courts and judges as well as the legal profession. In this way, it is our goal to increase understanding and access to justice for all. The Court oversees numerous services and programs throughout Alameda County that address the needs of parties as they navigate through the court system. From children’s waiting rooms, to Self-Help Centers for self-represented litigants, to high school mock trial programs, the Superior Court is working to build trust and confidence among the constituents we serve. The programs detailed below are examples of countywide initiatives aimed at expanding and enhancing court and community relations.
November is Adoption and Permanency Month in California, a time when the focus is on efforts to provide permanent homes for children awaiting adoption. National Adoption Day is also celebrated in November, and courts and communities all around the country hold special events and special adoption ceremonies for families. The Alameda County Superior Court is pleased to participate in these annual efforts.
The Bench Speakers Bureau increases the public's understanding and knowledge of the judicial system. The program is composed of Alameda County judges, commissioners, and court staff who speak to community, education, faith based, government agencies, and other types of organizations. By utilizing the Bench Speakers Bureau, community groups may request that judges speak to them about issues of concern to the community, as well as how the judicial system works. This is a popular program that provides the opportunity for school and community groups to meet with a judge to ask questions and learn more about the trial court system. For more information on scheduling a speaker, please contact the Court's Executive Office.
The Children’s Waiting Room is a free service for parents and guardians who have court business at the Hayward Hall of Justice. The waiting room offers a safe place for your children to remain while you conduct your business at the Court. Please see the information below for details on the services provided by the Children's Waiting Room.
More Information can be found on the Children's Waiting Rooms page.
Self-guided court tours are available at nearly all of the court facilities throughout Alameda County. The tours a unique opportunity to observe multiple court proceedings. Tours are available with a six-week prior appointment and on a limited basis. Unfortunately, the Court is not able to offer transportation to the courthouse for court tour activities. However, most court locations accessible via either BART or AC transit. For more information, please contact the Court's Executive Office.
The Superior Court currently has volunteer information centers at five court locations - the René C. Davidson and Wiley W. Manuel Courthouses in Oakland, the Hayward Hall of Justice, the Fremont Hall of Justice, and the Gale-Schenone Courthouse in Pleasanton. If you are interested in serving as a court volunteer, please contact the Court Volunteer Program Coordinator at (510) 891-6209. All volunteers are provided with an orientation program as well as strong support from the court staff.
Since 1999 and continuing biannually, East Bay Stand Down has helped needy and homeless veterans find assistance with housing, employment, medical and dental care, court and legal services, clothing, and other forms of aid. Stand Down is a term used during war to describe the practice of removing combat troops from the field and taking care of their basic needs in a safe area. As an entirely volunteer operation, the primary goal of East Bay Stand Down is to serve and support those veterans in need with respect and dignity.
In conjunction with East Bay Stand Down, the Alameda County Superior Court offers a Stand Down Court at the encampment to help veterans resolve specific infraction and misdemeanor cases. Visit East Bay Stand Down programs and events.
The Homeless and Caring Court seeks to address some of the legal barriers confronting homeless individuals. The Court holds bimonthly court sessions in homeless shelters and community sites in Alameda County. Typically, participants have been cited for various minor nonviolent offenses. These matters often escalate when homeless defendants fail to appear in court and arrest warrants are issued, creating new or additional sanctions and preventing these defendants from obtaining housing and other social welfare assistance. The individuals who participate must demonstrate their readiness to come to court in a variety of ways depending upon their particular circumstances, including seeking employment, education, pursuing sobriety, and general stability in their lives. The defendants are identified as good candidates for the Homeless Court through a consortium of local service providers. For more information, please contact
Kathie Barkow Coordinator, Alameda County Homeless and Caring Court 510.967.5161 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Judicial Administration Fellowship Program is administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento and co-sponsored by the Judicial Council. The fellowship program is both academic and professional. Full-time professional placements include trial and appellate courts throughout California and the Administrative Office of the Courts; the Superior Court in Alameda County is proud to offer a dynamic and insightful experience for each fellow working in our Court. Upon acceptance into the program, fellows enroll as graduate students in Public Policy and Administration at Sacramento State, and attend academic seminars. Each year, ten fellows are accepted into the ten-month program, which begins in September of each year.
The Bay Area JusticeCorps program presents an innovative approach to solving one of the more pressing issues faced by courts around the country today: providing equal access to justice. Alameda Superior Court serves as the lead court in the Bay Area JusticeCorps partnership that also includes the Superior Courts of San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara. Each year, through funding provided by AmeriCorps and the California Administrative Office of the Courts, the program recruits and trains a diverse group of 70 university students and six recent graduates to augment overburdened court and legal aid staff who are assisting self-represented litigants in court-based self-help programs. These highly motivated and well-trained members each provide at least 300 hours of in-depth and individualized services to self-represented litigants. The program offers outstanding opportunities for students to learn about the law and to provide a much needed service to their community.
Participants must be enrolled at one of our partnering campuses: UC Berkeley, Cal State East Bay, San Francisco State, Stanford and San Jose State. Additional information and applications are available on the program's website.
The Court invites all interested high school students, educators, mock trial teams, and youth-oriented community groups to join our annual Law Day celebration. Law Day is typically celebrated in Alameda County during the third week of May so as not to interfere with student’s testing schedule. A nationally celebrated day established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Law Day celebrates the rule of law and underscores how law and the legal process contribute to the freedoms all Americans share. For more information about Law Day, visit www.lawday.org.
The Philip A. Harley Memorial Mock Trial Competition is a countywide high school criminal trial competition is designed to increase understanding of our judicial system and the processes necessary to promote a just society. Student teams of ten to twenty students study a hypothetical case, conduct legal research, and receive individual coaching by volunteer attorneys in trial preparation, courtroom protocol and procedure, legal and analytical skills, and as well as oral and written communication. Preparation begins in the fall and culminates in grueling elimination rounds over four weeks of competition in February. The winning team represents Alameda County at the state competition in March. To participate or volunteer, click here.