Clerk of the Court

LOCATION:  North Tower 3rd Floor, Rm 3200

HOURS:  Monday-Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm

PHONE:  240-777-9467

General Duties

MARYLAND COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 2-201 delineates the general duties of the Clerk of a Maryland court as follows:

  1. Have custody of the books, records, and papers of the office.
  2. Make proper legible entries of all proceedings of the court and keep them in well-bound books or other permanent form.
  3. When requested in writing to do so, record any paper filed with his/her office and required by law to be recorded in the appropriate place, whether or not the title to land is involved.
  4. Unless prohibited by law or order of the court, provide copies of records or papers in his/her custody to a person requesting a copy, under the seal of the court if required.
  5. Issue all writs which may legally be issued from the court.
  6. Deliver a full statement of the costs of a suit to a party requesting a copy.
  7. Receive all books, documents, public letters, and packages sent to him/her pursuant to law, and carefully dispose of them as the law requires.
  8. Administer an oath.
  9. Replace worn books and records with new ones.
  10. In conjunction with the Motor Vehicle Administrator, establish uniform procedures for reporting both traffic cases and criminal cases involving a motor vehicle in the Circuit Court to the Motor Vehicle Administration.
  11. Perform any other duty required by law or rule.


Roles & Responsibilities

In order to execute the tasks described above, the Clerk of the Court is assisted by approximately 190 state-employed staff working in eight key functional areas of the Court:

In addition, the Clerk of the Circuit Court administers the Oath of Office to elected officials, judges, county police officers, sheriff officers, special police officers, assistant and deputy state's attorneys, fire department members, and gubernatorial appointees.

While the functions of the Clerk of the Court are multifaceted, the main function is to serve the public and the residents of Montgomery County, in particular. Some of the key services provided by the Office of the Clerk of the Court in 2020 included:

  • Issuing 4,318 marriage applications;
  • Recording 3,573 marriages;
  • Performing 628 marriage ceremonies;
  • Issuing 8,406 business licenses;
  • Swearing in 2,364 Notary Public; and
  • Addressing questions or concerns raised by court patrons regarding a variety of issues related to their cases.

If there are issues of concern, please contact the Clerk's Office by calling 240-777-9467. Suggestions and comments regarding ways to improve the Court’s service to Montgomery County residents are highly appreciated.

Karen Bushell


Professional Experience:

April 1, 2021: Karen Bushell was appointed as Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, filling the remainder of the previous Clerk’s term upon her retirement.  When Ms. Bushell took office, she brought with her a distinguished, respected career and 20 years of experience with the Maryland Judiciary. 

2001: Ms. Bushell began her career with the Judiciary in the District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County as a Human Resources Associate.

2002: Ms. Bushell was selected and promoted to serve as Administrative Assistant to The Honorable Katherine D. Savage. Upon Judge Savage’s retirement in 2013, Ms. Bushell was again selected as Administrative Assistant to The Honorable Nelson W. Rupp, Jr.

2014: Ms. Bushell was appointed to Chief Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. As Chief Deputy, she worked closely with the previous Clerk of Court, from 2014 to her 2021 appointment as Clerk.

Throughout her career, Ms. Bushell has both volunteered and been selected to serve on a variety of State-wide committees, all with the common goal of enhancing and improving the Maryland Court system for all Marylanders, and specifically for the residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Committee and Association Affiliations:

2014 – present: Ms. Bushell has served as a member of both the Conference of Circuit Court Clerks, and the Maryland Circuit Court Clerks' Association.

2014 – present: Member, The Mid-Atlantic Association of Court Management (MAACM).  

2015 – 2017: - Co-Chair of MAACM Conference Committee

2015 – present: Member, Mental Health Court Planning and Implementation Task Force for Montgomery County, Maryland

2016 – present: Member, Human Trafficking Work Group, Administrative Office of the Courts

In 2021, Ms. Bushell graduated from the Institute of Court Management Program, a four-year program developed by the National Center for State Courts.

Presently: Ms. Bushell continues to serve on the following Committees:

  • MDEC (Maryland Electronic Courts) Advisory Committee;
  •  Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission;
  • Courthouse Security Committee, Circuit Court for Montgomery County;
  • Forms Committee for the Domestic Law Committee, Administrative Office of the Courts;
  • Court Restructuring Committee, Circuit Court for Montgomery County
  • Member of the Major Project Committee, Administrative Office of the Courts

Ms. Bushell’s ongoing commitment to service and dedication to the Maryland Judiciary and Court system has earned her the respect of colleagues and other leaders statewide.

With the same level of professionalism, Ms. Bushell’s priority remains focused on the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, as they come to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, seeking resolution of their legal issues. Her steadfast goal is to ensure that the Clerk’s Office provides accurate, knowledgeable information to all in a prompt, professional and courteous manner. 


Ms. Bushell has lived in Montgomery County, Maryland, for over 36 years.  She is married to Annie Shane and together they have raised six children and are blessed to now have six grandchildren.  Tragically, in 2017, they lost their youngest son, Kevin, while he was serving in the US Navy. He was one of ten sailors that lost their lives when an oil tanker collided with the USS John S. McCain while in the Singapore Strait.

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