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

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


The COVID-19 pandemic forced the New Jersey courts to suspend jury trials in mid-March 2020. Since the onset of the public health crisis, the Supreme Court has authorized temporary modifications to jury operations in order to safely resume criminal and civil jury trials as necessary to protect the rights of the people of New Jersey. This notice provides a comprehensive update on the rollout of hybrid jury trials, which will include primarily virtual selections and socially distanced in-person trials, and answers questions posed by attorneys and jurors.

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The New Jersey courts currently are conducting limited on-site court proceedings, with in-person socially distanced jury trials scheduled to begin in late September 2020. Consistent adherence to public health requirements remains critical to supporting the health and safety of all court users. At the same time, attorneys and clients must have appropriate methods to communicate with the judge and privately during in-person court proceedings. To that end, this notice provides a list of approved options for sidebar communications and confidential attorney-client communications during jury trials and other on-site proceedings. Additional options may be considered on a case-by-case basis, with court approval, taking into consideration facilities and individual participant needs (including language access services and ADA accommodations).

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to apply social distancing and other protective measures, the Judiciary by April 2, 2020 notice temporarily modified the procedures for applying for a protective order under SASPA, the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015. That temporary modification instructed litigants applying for a SASPA protective order to submit the completed application packet via email to the emergent mailbox either in the county in which the victim resides, the county in which the defendant resides, or the county where the act occurred.

This notice is to advise that where to submit the completed application for a SASPA protective order has changed. Those applications no longer should be submitted to the emergent mailbox, but rather should be sent through the Judiciary Electronic Document System (JEDS) at https://www.njcourts.gov/selfhelp/jeds.html. The SASPA application packet (CN 12590) has been updated on page 4 to reflect these new instructions.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the AOC’s Family Practice Division at 609-815-2900 ext. 55350.

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

Acting Administrator Director

Dated: August 13, 2020

NOTICE Revised Instructions for Submitting SASPA Protective Orders.pdf

The Supreme Court’s Post-Pandemic Plan (issued June 10, 2020) outlines 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). This notice provides additional guidance on current and future court operations, including as to ongoing monitoring and potential responses to statewide and local COVID-19 trends.

(1) On-Site Presence and In-Person Events

The Court’s Post-Pandemic Plan summarizes the phases of the gradual return to court facilities and in-person services as follows:

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Jury Operations During COVID-19 – (1) Supporting State Grand Jury; (2) Expanding Virtual Grand Jury Operations; and (3) Resuming Jury Trials

The Supreme Court has authorized various temporary modifications to jury protocols during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Successful implementation of those interim adjustments is critical to resuming and maintaining comprehensive court services during Phase 2 of the Judiciary’s Post-Pandemic Plan and during the future transition to Phase 3.

(1) State Grand Jury (SGJ) (Maintenance)

As anticipated at the outset of the virtual grand jury pilot program, the Court authorized expansion to State Grand Jury (in addition to the initial county-level programs in Bergen and Mercer). The Judiciary is continuing to work closely with Attorney General staff in the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) to prepare the two existing State Grand Jury (SGJ) panels to convene virtually.

Technology has been distributed to the jurors on both panels as
needed. Vicinage IT staff has completed Zoom onboarding so that all jurors (those using their own devices and those using Judiciary-provided technology) are ready to proceed in the virtual format.

(2) Virtual Grand Jury Selection (Expansion)

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The New Jersey courts are committed to following public health guidance and supporting the health and safety of attorneys, litigants, members of the public, judges, court staff, and all persons in Judiciary facilities. To that end, the Judiciary has established a statewide policy for handling COVID-19 exposure risks in courthouses and court facilities. This notice is being issued on behalf of the Chief Justice and the Administrative Director. The policy set forth herein applies to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Tax Court, and trial divisions of the Superior Court. For Municipal Courts, the municipality has responsibility for enforcing public health protocols regarding COVID-19 cases.

A. The Judiciary has implemented and will continue to enforce policies that minimize risks of potential exposure to COVID-19 in court facilities.

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The New Jersey courts are continuing to support comprehensive court services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including for individuals seeking protection from domestic violence. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s July 24, 2020 Seventh Omnibus Order, domestic violence temporary restraining order (TRO) applications will be accepted in person with or without a prior appointment. Effective August 3, 2020, plaintiffs also can contact the Family Division by telephone during normal court hours to apply for the entry of a TRO.

Plaintiffs who contact their local police department after Superior Court hours will continue to be assisted by law enforcement with the filing of their TRO application and be heard by a Municipal Court judge. Additionally, if law enforcement issues a complaint-summons to a domestic violence defendant, or contacts the Municipal Court to request a complaint-warrant, plaintiffs should be afforded the opportunity to apply for a TRO at the same time, with the assistance of law enforcement, even if this occurred when the Superior Court is open. These TRO applications that are submitted with a complaint-warrant or a complaint-summons should be heard by a Municipal Court judge, even during Superior Court hours.

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***Disclaimer – The Full Order and All Attachments are attached in the link below for your review.***

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many efforts have been and continue to be made to assist landlords and tenants affected by the public health crisis and remove barriers to justice. The Judiciary is implementing a multifaceted plan for improving the handling of Landlord/Tenant (LT) cases from the outset, including by providing litigants with information and resources. Our primary goal is to assist litigants in resolving their matters, not dispose of cases through trial or default. No party will be pressured into settling their case.

The Judiciary has engaged with tenant advocates as well as landlord representatives to create the attached informational materials that will be distributed to all parties in LT cases. In addition, every vicinage, in coordination with their Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Committees and Ombudsmen, is organizing virtual LT outreach events to provide litigants and others with up to date information on current court operations. Those outreach events, conducted in partnership with key stakeholders, will highlight local community resources that provide legal, financial, and other forms of assistance relating to rental housing and mortgage payments.

This Directive sets forth the requirements of newly implemented LT case management steps, procedures, and forms for (1) service of complaints and conferences; (2) CARES Act certification of compliance; and (3) Order to Show Cause process for LT trials in limited circumstances.

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