A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Jersey State Courts Gradually Reopening

By on June 12, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

The New Jersey Supreme Court has approved the first part of the New Jersey Courts Post Pandemic Plan for transitioning from fully remote court operations (Phase 1) to the gradual return to courthouse and court facilities (Phase 2). The courts will begin the implementation of Phase 2 starting on June 22, 2020.

Up until June 21, 2020, the courts have essentially been in remote operation with buildings closed to attorneys and the public. Starting on this date, 10-15% of judges and staff will be onsite. Certain matters that cannot proceed remotely may be conducted onsite. As part of this plan, all who enter public areas of the courthouse are required to wear masks.

Remote operations will continue though as required during the public health emergency (extended through July 5, 2020). The courts are monitoring COVID-19 and will adjust reopening plans based upon COVID-19 trends.

The Plan includes Phase 3 and Phase 4. Under Phase 3, there will be ongoing remote operations with gradually increasing onsite events, including new jury trials; 50-75% of judges and staff onsite (with staggered schedules).

Phase 4 does not occur until either a vaccine is available and/or herd immunity is established with 75-80% of judges and staff onsite.

During Phase 2, subject to social distancing and other requirements, in the absence of consent to proceed remotely, bench trials and hearings may be conducted in person if especially complex (at a minimum, involving numerous parties or witnesses or significant evidence in a format that cannot be handled remotely, such as physical evidence or videos.)

No information was provided as to when the court would transition into Phase 3 and beyond.

As of now, civil jury trials remain suspended. The bar has been told by various judges that when trials do resume, that criminal trials will start first due to the criminal backlog and speedy trial law. Realistically, the bar is not expecting civil trials to start until later in the fall or next year.


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Betsy G. Ramos

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.


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