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Category Archives: Chancery

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

     The Supreme Court by Order dated May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury proceedings, as recommended by the Supreme Court Working Group on Remote Grand Jury Operations (Working Group). The pilot program incorporates safeguards to ensure the secrecy and solemnity of grand jury proceedings, including supplements to the grand jury charge and oath of secrecy, as codified in a May 15, 2020 supplement #23-06.

The identified pilot counties (Bergen and Mercer) have taken all necessary steps to prepare for implementation of virtual grand jury proceedings. Working with the County Prosecutors, the grand juries have received additional orientation on the virtual (video) process. The supplemental charge to the grand jury has been administered, and all grand jurors have sworn or affirmed the supplement to the oath of secrecy. Read More

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court today issued its Third Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice in response to the ongoing COVI D-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This May 28, 2020 Third Omnibus Order addresses all provisions of the April 24, 2020 Second Omnibus Order (and the May 15, 2020 clarification order). It continues some of those provisions through June 14, 2020, affirms that other provisions remain in full force and effect, and lists those provisions that have concluded. Read More

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

STANDING ORDER 2020-12

IN RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19, SUPERSESSION OF STANDING ORDERS 2020-02, 2020-03, 2020-04 AND 2020-09

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;

WHEREAS, in response to the spread of COVID-19, on March 9, 2020, the Governor of the State of New Jersey declared a State of Emergency of indefinite duration and a Public Health Emergency, which the Governor has extended through at least June 5, 2020; Read More

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

STANDING ORDER 2020-13

IN RE: USE OF FACE COVERINGS/MASKS: DUE TO COVID-19

WHEREAS, the President of the United States has declared a National Emergency, and the Governor of the State of New Jersey has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency throughout the State, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities have advised taking precautions to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and to slow the spread of the disease; Read More

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court has entered an order clarifying four provisions of the Court’s April 24, 2020 Second Omnibus Order regarding court operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The May 15, 2020 Order, a copy of which is attached, clarifies the following aspects of remote court operations:

  1. The Office of Foreclosure will continue to review and recommend non-dispositive motions (e.g. , motions to substitute plaintiff, motion to enter default, motion for surplus funds and motions to correct defendant), but will not recommend judgments or dispositive motions received on or after March 1, 2020 pending further court order;
  2. The suspension of the requirement of courtesy copies as already applied to Civil matters also extends to Family matrimonial (FM) matters, meaning that courtesy copies are not required so long as the total submission (including appendices and attachments) does not exceed 35 pages;
  3. The ongoing suspension of trial calendars in Special Civil (DC) and Small Claims (SC) does not prevent attempts to settle those matters or requests in an individual case to proceed to trial. Judges may conduct DC and SC trials remotely with the consent of all parties; and
  4. In addition to certified copies and exemplified copies, and other categories covered by the March 27, 2020 First Omnibus Order, electronic signatures are permitted for documents to which the seal of the court is affixed by the Superior Court Clerk (including but not limited to orders, Judgments of Conviction, Judgments of Divorce, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and writs of execution).

Questions on this notice should be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 15, 2020

Notice and Order – Clarification of Four Provisions of the Court’s Second Omnibus Order Regarding Court Operations During the COVID-19 Crisis.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

Directive #23-06 (“Grand Jury Standards – Implementation and Questionnaire”) promulgated standard grand jury policies and procedures, including a standard charge to the grand jury (Attachment 3) and a standard oath of secrecy (Attachment 5). The grand jury standards as promulgated by directive #23-06 have been implemented statewide for over a decade.

In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey courts have transitioned from in-person to virtual court proceedings in nearly all areas. However, grand jury sessions have been suspended for two months and remain unable to resume in an in-person format based on public health risks.

The Supreme Court on May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury proceedings in Mercer and Bergen counties, as one method of enabling criminal matters to move forward during this unprecedented crisis. As outlined in the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, a number of additional safeguards are required before those virtual (video) grand jury sessions can begin. Those precautionary measures include reissuance of the standard charge to the grand jury, plus an additional supplement to that charge, and the requirement that all grand jurors reaffirm their oath of secrecy and swear or affirm a supplement to that oath. Consistent with the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, this Supplement to Directive #23-06 promulgates on a temporary basis a supplement to Attachment A (grand jury charge) and a supplement to Attachment B (secrecy oath). Those approved supplements will be issued to all grand jurors convening in a virtual (video) format in the pilot counties.

Questions or comments regarding this Directive Supplement should be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director at (609) 376-3000.

Attachments: (1) COVID-19 Supplement to the Charge for Grand Juries

Convening in a Virtual Format (2) COVID-19 Supplement to the Oath of Secrecy for Grand Juries Convening in a Virtual Format

***Please follow the link below to view these additional attachments.***

Supplement to Grand Jury Charge and Oath of Secrecy for the Virtual Grand Jury Pilot Project (Supplement to Directive #23-06).pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

May 13, 2020

The Bergen County Surrogate’s Court has extended electronic services to complete applications for appointment as Guardian of Minor’s Property resulting from a Friendly Hearing held in Superior Court. Electronic Services to complete the appointment shall take place on a limited basis on the first and third Friday afternoons of the month from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

To make application for appointment as guradian of a minor’s property, the guardians must provide a copy of the child’s birht certificate and social security card, both parents’ photo identification, name and address of any siblings, a valid email address and telephone number, proff of residence, a copy of any consents (if applicable), a copy of the court order entered at the time of the friendly hearing, and the processing fee. Upon receipt of same, an appointment will be made to take electronic signatures via Webex.

Be well,

/s/Michael R. Dressler, Surrogate

Deputy Clerk, Superior Court

Chancery Division, Probate Part

5/13/2020 Notice to the Bar.pdf

Follow the link below and read the updated policy from the Supreme Court of New Jersey in regards to the required usage of facemasks when inside courthouses and court facilities. This notice effectively supersedes memos and supplements established on April 3rd and April 17th.

Memo – COVID-19 – Revised Policy on Masks and Face Coverings – As Signed – 05-08-20.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The New Jersey courts are committed to continuing court operations during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. Sustaining and expanding meaningful access to justice throughout this unprecedented emergency requires a careful and considered balancing of interests. To that end, by Order dated May 5, 2020, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system launched in early April is an approved electronic filing system, and that all documents submitted through JEDS are filed upon receipt and deemed electronically signed.

The JEDs system was established pursuant to Rule 1 :32-2A(a) and serves as an approved electronic filing system for the trial divisions of the Superior Court and for the Tax Court. The electronic signature of documents filed in JEDS, as with the electronic signature of documents filed in eCourts, satisfies the signature requirements of Rule 1:5-6.

By that same May 5, 2020 Order, the Court supplemented and relaxed the filing requirements of Rule 1 :5-6 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Documents are deemed filed once transmitted through eCourts or JEDS. The trial court will issue deficiency notices where a document submission is missing information necessary to proceed with the pending court matter. Filers will be provided ten (10) days following the notice to correct matters covered by Rule 1 :5-6(c)(1) pursuant to the Court’s rule relaxation. For a deficiency that is not corrected, the document will remain filed subject to objections by adversaries and pending a decision by the assigned judge.

Additionally, where a document is electronically filed in the wrong venue, the wrong division, or the wrong case type, the court will redirect that document to the correct venue, division or case type without the need for a court order.

Attorneys are required to file in eCourts where eCourts is available. Those case types for which eCourts is available include Criminal, Civil Law, Special Civil DC, Foreclosure, Family- Children in Court, and Tax Court. Where eCourts is not available for a case type, attorneys must electronically file all documents in JEDS with the trial divisions of the Superior Court and the Tax Court, except that probate and guardianship documents will continue to be filed with the County Surrogate. For non-eCourts case types, attorneys are required to file both emergent and non-emergent matters in JEDS. When an attorney files a document in JEDS where eCourts is available for that case type, the filing will be dismissed by the clerk without a refund of the filing fee.

***A copy of the Supreme Court’s May 5, 2020 Order is attached.*** 

Questions regarding this notice may be directed to Superior Court Clerk Michelle M. Smith at (609) 815-2900 ext. 54200 or michelle.smith@njcourts.gov.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 8, 2020

Notice and Order – COVID-19 – Electronic Filing in eCourts and the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) System – Attorneys Required to File in eCourts Where Available.pdf

 

NOTICE TO THE BAR

As a further step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to the courts and the legal system, the Supreme Court this week issued the attached May 4 order temporarily allowing attorneys licensed in another United States jurisdiction to provide needed pro bono legal services to individuals and small businesses affected by the public health crisis.

The basis for the order is the Court’s determination that the COVID-19 public health emergency constitutes an “emergency affecting the justice system,” thereby invoking Rule 1:21-10 which provides for this temporary authorization to practice in New Jersey.

The Court’s Order will enable in-house counsel and other attorneys not licensed in New Jersey to provide those critical services on a pro bono basis. The out-of-state attorney seeking to provide pro bono legal services must not be disbarred, suspended from practice, or otherwise restricted from practice in any jurisdiction, and must be supervised by an attorney licensed and in good standing in New Jersey. The supervising attorney must file a certification with the Supreme Court regarding all attorneys who provide pro bono assistance through this avenue

Questions about this notice should be directed to Superior Court Clerk Michelle M. Smith at Michelle.Smith@njcourts.gov or (609) 421-6100.

***Please follow the link below to see the attached notice.***

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 6, 2020

Notice and Order – Temporarily Authorizing Out-of-State Attorneys During COVID-19 to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services Under Supervision.pdf