Courts

Municipal Court

The Municipal Court hears matters relating to Animal Code Violations, Disorderly Conduct, Harbor Patrol, Traffic, and Zoning.

Meeting Information

Presiding Judge: Jane F. Howlett

Court Dates: Second Tuesday (8:00 AM) and the Fourth Tuesday (6:00 PM) of each month. To view the calendar schedule, click here

Court Location: Burnside Memorial Building (2nd Floor Courtroom), 400 Hope Street, Bristol, RI 02809

Court Contact Information: Email

Accessibility: Handicap-accessible parking is conveniently located next to the Burnside Building on Court Street. The Burnside Building offers a side entrance ramp and elevators to the second-floor courtroom. 

Court Rules

Please observe the following court rules:

  • Proper Attire is required - no shorts, tank tops, etc.
  •  Food and Beverages are expressly forbidden
  • Court begins on time; late arrivals are heard at the conclusion of the session
  • Cell phones/pagers should be set to silent mode or turned off
  • Payments for fines (varies) and court costs (typically $35 per infraction) is due and payable at the time of judgment; payable by cash, check or money order. The Bristol Municipal Court does not accept credit/debit cards.
  • Please check the Court Docket for your name. If your name is listed, assume a seat in the courtroom and wait for your name to be called. If you do not see your name, please refer to the Town Clerk prior to the start of the meeting.
Question Breaker

Probate Court

The Probate Court hears matters relating to Estates, Guardianships, and Name Changes.

Meeting Information

Court Dates: First Tuesday (9:15 AM) and Third Tuesday (9:15 AM) of each month. To view the calendar schedule, click here.

Court Location: Bristol Town Hall Conference Room, 10 Court Street, Bristol, RI 02809

Court Forms: Probate Court Forms are available on the Secretary of State website.

Court Rules of Practice & Procedure

Pursuant to RIGL 33-22-29, the Probate Court of the Town of Bristol hereby establishes the following local administrative rules:

  •  Court Sessions: Sessions will normally convene at 9:15 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month unless that day is a legal holiday. Court sessions are held in the Conference Room, 10 Court Street. The court reserves the right to meet on a different day as necessary.
  •  Court Calendar: Attorneys are requested to sign the docket in the Conference Room on the morning of court sessions; the Town Hall opens at 8:30 a.m. Cases are heard in sign-in order (first come, first served) with the exception of contested matters which are heard at the end of the session.
  •  Contested Matters: Special sessions of the Probate Court will be scheduled as reasonably necessary to hear contested matters which cannot be heard during regular court sessions by the Probate Judge. There will be no additional fee for special sessions. (33-22-30).
  •  Filing Fees / Deadline: No matter will be heard unless and until all fees currently due have been paid. Checks should be made payable to the Town of Bristol.
    • Matters requiring advertising should be filed and the necessary fees paid not later than the previous Tuesday of the week of publication. A publication will be in the Thursday edition of the Bristol Phoenix 3 times prior to the hearing. All matters on waivers should be filed prior to the hearing date.
  •  Electronic Recordings
    • Electronic recordings of any court proceedings will be made by the Court at the request of the Probate Judge or any party thereto by electronic tape recording (33-22-19.1). However, parties may have court proceedings transcribed by authorized court stenographers at their own expense.
    •  Electronic tape recordings of hearings will be kept in accordance with the records retention schedule.
  • Court Sessions: Every decision of the Probate Court shall be reduced to written order or decree presented at the time of the hearing or by the prevailing party within a reasonable time thereafter. (33-22-31).
  • Notice to Creditors: No First and Final Accounting and no Affidavit of Completed Administration will be accepted by the Probate Court without an affidavit by the fiduciary certifying that notice has been given to all known and easily ascertainable to creditors (33-11-5.1).
  • Guardianship: All petitions for a minor child will be advertised prior to the hearing date.
  • Forms: Use of statewide forms is mandatory. Click here to visit the Secretary of State's website.
  • Change of Name
    •  A criminal record check through the Rhode Island Attorney General will be conducted for all persons (with the exception of minors) petitioning for a change of name. If there is a criminal record, the Probate Judge will exercise his discretion as to the name change on a case by case basis.
    •  In the case of a minor child, all petitions for a change of name will be advertised prior to the hearing date. It is also required that both parents sign the petition. In such cases where the whereabouts of 1 parent is unknown, the court requires that certified mail with a notice of the hearing be sent to the last known address with a receipt filed with the court.

General Fees

Those items designated by an asterisk (*) above typically require advertising unless submitted on Waiverof Notice. In addition, advertising is required for the following.
Action Fee
Affidavit of Complete Administration
$34
Maximum Amount for an Estate
$1,500
Minimum Amount for an Estate
$34
Petition for Administration*
$34
Petition for Change of Name*
$34
Petition for Probate of Will*
$34
Petition for Guardianship
$34
Petition for Removal of Fiduciary
$34
Voluntary Administration (Small Estate)
$34 + $5 per Certified Copy
Voluntary Information Executor (Small Estate)
$34 + $5 per Certified Copy
Will for Filing with no Probate
$34
Action Fee
Accounting $20
Administration $20
Guardianship $20
Petition for Sale of Real Estate
$20
Probate of Will
$20
Qualifications After Bond Filed
 

Other Fees

Action Fee
Certificate of Appointment (Each)
$5
Certified Copy of Any Probate Document
$3 + $1.50 Per Page
Probate File Copies (Per Page)
$1.50