Court Changes in Response to COVID-19 – UPDATED 6/24/2020

In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey Supreme Court has enacted a number of measures to help stop the spread of the virus, while also maintaining operations to the extent possible so that the court system can continue to meet the needs of New Jersey residents and businesses alike.

The New Jersey courts are currently implementing Phase 1 of a Post-Pandemic Plan, with limited numbers of judges and employees returning to courthouses and court facilities on June 22, 2020, subject to statewide precautions including requirements to wear masks or face coverings in non-private areas and to maintain social distancing.  As part of the transition to Phase 2, all levels of the courts may begin to conduct certain limited in-person proceedings and onsite operations as authorized by the Court.

To assist in our understanding of the status of the court system as related to COVID-19 modifications, below is a list of measures enacted by the New Jersey Supreme Court which are still in place. This list includes information compiled and summarized for convenience. For more detailed information, please consult with an attorney.

Juries

  • No new jury trials through June 28, 2020 updated 6/24/20
  • Ongoing jury trials suspended during COVID-19 may resume consistent with public health precautions with the consent of all parties. updated 6/24/20
  • Grand juries suspended through June 28, 2020. updated 6/24/20

Civil Division Courts

  • Deadlines extended for filing affidavits of merit in medical malpractice cases through June 28, 2020. updated 6/24/20
  • Discovery deadlines involving physical or mental examinations of persons extended through June 28, 2020. updated 6/24/20
  • Office of Foreclosure
    • Dispositive motions and final judgment will not be reviewed by the Office of Foreclosure until further order from Court.
    • Office of Foreclosure will continue to review and recommend non-dispositive motions
  • Special Civil Part (DC) and Small Claims (SC) trial calendars suspended though June 28, 2020. updated 6/24/20

Landlord/Tenant Court

  • Lockouts of residential tenants (evictions) suspended until 2 months after the end of the health emergency or further executive action from the governor.
  • New complaints may be filed.
  • Courts will schedule settlement conferences in an effort to resolve matters. updated 6/24/20
  • New trials suspended until further notice.

Tax Courts

  • Local property tax appeal filing deadlines extended until July 1, 2020. The Court has vacated the portion of the Order extending this deadline until 30 days after State of Emergency ends. updated 6/24/20
  • State tax appeal filing deadlines extended until 30 days after State of Emergency ends.

Municipal Courts

  • Municipal Court sessions have resumed by virtual format with consent of both parties.

All Courts

  • Depositions to be conducted by videoconference through June 28, 2020 (recommended). updated 6/24/20
  • Hearings, conferences, and arguments to be conducted by video or phone through June 28, 2020 (recommended). updated 6/24/20
  • Depositions and appearances of frontline healthcare professionals suspended through June 28, 2020. updated 6/24/20
  • Court Rules relaxed to allow electronic signatures in all filing processes until further order of the Court.
  • Request for extension of time may be submitted by letter in lieu of a motion until further order of the Court.

Guardianships – Modifications in place until further Order of the Court

  • Examinations and interviews of the alleged incapacitated person permitted by video or phone.
  • Alleged incapacitated persons may appear by video or phone
  • Appointed guardian may act immediately if qualification cannot be timely completed
  • Surety bond requirement may be postponed

Workers’ Compensation Courts

  • Workers’ Compensation Courts are closed to the public and non-essential personnel through June 8, 2020.
  • Workers’ Compensation matters are being heard by telephonic and video conferencing, including emergent and non-emergent matters.
  • No in-person Workers’ Compensation Court proceedings except limited emergent matters and limited ongoing trials and motions for medical and temporary benefits

Out-of-State Attorneys

  • Attorneys licensed in another United States jurisdiction are temporarily allowed to provide pro bono legal services to individuals and businesses, if supervised by a licensed New Jersey attorney.