Delaware: Legislature approves bill providing for consistent statutory language for judicial law clerks

While there are often bills introduced to limit or expand the number of law clerks to judges, it is not often that I come across a bill that relates to their definition. Delaware, however, has two such bills this year.

HB 56 & HB 64 would insert into each statute section related to each level of court (Supreme, Chancery, Superior, Family, and Common Pleas) in the state the following uniform language:

Law clerks hold major, non-tenured advisory positions for the [judges/justices of the specific court].  The [name of court] may appoint and remove at pleasure such judicial law clerks as shall be necessary for the proper operation of the Court.

Currently, the statute sections for each court level either say nothing as to law clerks or use different language. For example, the Court of Chancery (10 Del. Code. § 329) has:

(a) The Court of Chancery may appoint and remove at pleasure such law clerks as shall be necessary for the proper operation of the Court, not to exceed 2 law clerks in New Castle County, one law clerk in Kent County and one law clerk in Sussex County.

(b) Each law clerk shall receive such compensation as shall from time to time be determined by the Chancellor. Special arrangements may be made as to part-time law clerks where the Court finds it expedient to do so.

But the Superior Court (10 Del. Code. § 523) has:

(a) [Repealed.]

(b) Each law clerk shall receive such compensation as shall from time to time be determined by the President Judge. Special arrangements may be made as to part-time law clerks where the Court finds it expedient to do so.

HB 56 was stricken shortly after introduction. HB 64 met with unanimous approval at all stages of its progress and is current awaiting action by the Governor.