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Virtual courts expanded beyond Essential & Emergency categories

Ban on new filings sill in effect
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Posted at 11:53 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 11:53:04-04

The temporary “virtual court” model in New York State Courts will be expanded beyond the limited category of essential and emergency matters, according to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks.

It's been a week since the statewide roll-out of virtual court operations, which allows essential and emergency proceedings, amid the COVID-19 pandemic to be conducted remotely by Skype or teleconference.

After the transition to a virtual court system for essential and emergency matters statewide, the court system said it is extending its category to include pending tort, asbestos, commercial, matrimonial, trusts and estates, felony, family and other cases.

The existing ban on filing new “non-essential” matters will remain in effect.

Over the past two weeks, the New York State Courts’ trial court efforts focused on arraignments, bail applications, orders of protection and other essential and emergency criminal, family and civil matters.

“Building on this framework, we can now begin to focus on the rest of our caseload, enabling judges and non-judicial employees across the State, who are anxious to get back to work and do their part, to be active and serve the public in this time of great need,” said Chief Judge DiFiore.

Judges and attorneys will work remotely, and a small number of Court Clerks and Court Officers will continue to work in the courthouse to process paperwork.

“These are preliminary−but significant−steps forward as we strive, in these challenging times, to carry on the vitally important business of the courts,” said Chief Administrative Judge Marks.

The court system will continue to evaluate and adjust its operational plans, and Judge Marks added that further steps to increase access to justice in non-essential matters will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information about virtual court operations, click here.