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Category Archives: New Jersey Supreme Court and Administrative Office of the Courts

The Supreme Court has amended the provisions of prior Orders governing COVID-19 remote court operations. Effective immediately, consent shall not be required for Family quasi-criminal (FO) matters to be conducted remotely. Courts shall continue to consider the legitimate needs of parties, attorneys, and others in determining whether an individual matter should be conducted in person rather than remotely. The Court’s November 19, 2020 Order is attached.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the Family Practice Division at (609) 815-2900 x55350.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: November 19 , 2020

Notice – COVID-19 – Eliminating the Requirement of Consent in Order to Proceed Virtually with FO Cases – dated 11-19-20.pdf

Order – COVID-19 – Eliminating the Requirement of Consent in Order to Proceed Virtually with FO Cases – dated and effective 11-19-20.pdf

The New Jersey courts are continuing to provide comprehensive court services at all state court locations and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

As we have for the past eight months, courts at all levels are following a “remote first” approach to court proceedings and court events. Accordingly, matters that can be conducted remotely will continue to be done remotely, and certain matters that cannot be handled in a remote format will be conducted in person.

All State Courts Will Continue to Support Emergent and Critical Functions, Which May be Conducted in Person When Necessary

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The Supreme Court has immediately suspended new in-person jury trials and in-person grand jury sessions because of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court’s November 16, 2020 Order (attached) is effective immediately and until further order.

Consistent with the Court’s October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order, virtual grand juries have been established in all counties. Existing virtual panels will continue to meet in a virtual format, and in-person panels also may be converted to convene virtually subject to the Judiciary providing technology and training as necessary to support all jurors in participating in virtual sessions. The end-dates for excludable time each have been extended by 45 days beyond the dates set in the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order.

The New Jersey Courts will continue to operate in a primarily remote format with limited numbers of judges and court employees on-site and very few court events handled in person.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: November 16, 2020

Notice – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

Order – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

This Notice is to advise that as of this week, cash payments for child support can be made at local courthouses during the days and hours listed in the schedule posted on the Judiciary’s website. The option to pay cash over the counter at the Finance Division provides a no-fee option for court users with child support obligations. Additional options for paying child support are available as described on the Department of Human Services webpage. Especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, timely and consistent child support payments provide critical support for children throughout New Jersey.

More information about child support and related court matters is posted on the Judiciary’s COVID-19 resource page.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: October 15, 2020

NOTICE Cash Payments for Child Support – Limited Reopening of Vicinage Finance Windows.pdf

***A copy of the full order is attached below.***

The Supreme Court has relaxed Rule 1:40-12(a)(4) (“Special Civil Part Settlors”) so as to expand resources for settling landlord/tenant matters during COVID-19. The Court’s September 30, 2020 Order is attached.

The New Jersey courts have committed to supporting tenants and landlords seeking to resolve eviction matters without trial during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, the Court has relaxed Rule 1:40-12(a)(4) to modify training requirements for individuals willing to serve as settlors for landlord/tenant matters. The Court’s action will supplement the pool of qualified landlord/tenant settlors by engaging certain qualified groups, as follows:

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The Supreme Court has issued the attached Ninth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ***A copy of the Full Order is attached below for your convenience.***

This October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also includes substantive changes designed to ensure that defendants detained without indictment promptly will have their cases presented to grand juries. To that end, the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

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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 ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court on May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury sessions in Mercer and Bergen counties. Consistent with the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, the Judiciary on May 15, 2020 issued a supplement to directive #23-06, which promulgated on a temporary basis a supplement to Attachment A (grand jury charge) and a supplement to Attachment B (secrecy oath). Those approved supplements have been issued to all county and state grand jurors convening in a virtual format during COVID-19.

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The Supreme Court by Order dated June 9, 2020 has required that all people who enter or occupy court facilities (including Judiciary areas of mixed-use facilities) must wear masks or other face coverings in community settings (e.g., entranceways, indoor parking garages) and common areas (e.g., courtrooms, elevators). It incorporates certain limited exceptions, including for medical need. The Court’s June 9, 2020 Order also references judicial discretion to remove their face coverings or masks when on the bench and to direct others to do so as long as social distancing is maintained.

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The Supreme Court’s Post-Pandemic Plan (issued June 10, 2020) outlined in general terms the transition from Phase 1 (fully remote operations) to Phase 2 (incremental return of limited numbers of judges and court staff to Judiciary facilities). Based on current public health recommendations and COVID-19 trends, the New Jersey courts will be expanding the scope of on-site court events, including for new jury trials, but without transitioning fully to Phase 3 as previously anticipated. For lack of a better description, the courts are now moving to “Phase 2.5.” This notice provides additional guidance as to events that may under appropriate circumstances be conducted on-site even while our court system overall continues to follow a “remote first” model.

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The Supreme Court has issued its Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also reinforces provisions of the Court’s September 17, 2020 Order on the first jury trials, including as to the additional option of conducting voir dire in a fully virtual format with the consent of the attorneys and parties and the approval of the trial judge.

The September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

  • Grand Jury. Confirming that all counties are virtually selecting new grand jury panels, and providing that grand juries in all counties will be equipped and ready to convene in a virtual format on or before December 1, 2020;
  • Criminal. Continuing excludable time provisions through October 11, 2020; and
  • Civil. Relaxing Rule 4:64-8(b) during the term of the Federal Housing Administration’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and HUD Agency Letter 2020-27, so as to provide that a plaintiff will not be required to file a new complaint to reinstate a foreclosure matter that has been dismissed twice for lack of prosecution.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Eighth Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: September 17, 2020

NOTICE (FULL NOTICE) Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

 

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