At the end of a hearing, the clerk who is the presiding judicial official orally announces (or “renders”) her decision from the bench in favor of the petitioner seeking relief from the court. The clerk instructs the attorney for the petitioner to prepare an order with appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law and to return the order to the court for review within two weeks. The clerk receives the order from the attorney ten days later. The clerk reviews the written order, makes a few changes to some findings of fact (remember, in the end it is the court’s order and not the attorney’s order who drafted it), and then signs and files it. Next to the clerk’s signature on the order is the date the order is signed and the earlier date of the hearing along with the words “nunc pro tunc.”
Does the clerk generally have the authority to enter an order nunc pro tunc? What is the meaning of this phrase? What is the clerk’s authority to enter an order nunc pro tunc in these specific circumstances? That’s the subject of today’s post.