COVID-19- SECOND OMNIBUS ORDER ON COURT OPERATIONS AND LEGAL PRACTICE – MORE OPERATIONS TO BE CONDUCTED REMOTELY; LIMITED DISCOVERY EXTENSIONS AND TOLLING PERIODS
The New Jersey courts are committed to continuing court operations during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. To that end, the Supreme Court today announced the next phase of remote court operations and legal practice. A copy of the Court’s April 24, 2020 Second Omnibus Order is attached.
Most Court Operations Are Continuing Remotely
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most court operations have continued remotely in all levels of the court system. Since transitioning to virtual operations, the courts have conducted more than 12,000 remote court events involving more than 80,000 participants.
Since the Court’s March 27, 2020 Omnibus Order, involuntary civil commitment hearings have resumed using video conferencing. As of April 27, 2020, civil arbitration sessions and matrimonial early settlement panels also will resume using phone and video options. Efforts to resolve matters in Landlord/Tenant (LT), Special Civil (DC), and Small Claims (SC) cases will continue even while trials in those matters are suspended.
More Court Matters Will Resume in the Coming Weeks
The Court’s Order lifts the suspension of Municipal Court sessions. As of April 27, 2020, remote proceedings in the Municipal Courts may be conducted with the consent of all parties. Effective May 11 ,2020 ,with appropriate notice to the parties, Municipal Court sessions can resume in individual Municipal Courts. Sessions may only proceed by video or phone. Municipal Court sessions will resume to the extent possible based on facilities, technology, and other resources.
As of May 11, 2020, attorney disciplinary matters and fee arbitrations also will resume using remote options to the extent possible considering resources and complexity.
Most Extensions of Discovery Deadlines and Tolling of Time Periods Will End as of May 10,2020
Based on the demonstrated increased ability of the courts to handle matters remotely, combined with the new electronic filing options available to attorneys and self- represented litigants, legal practice generally can continue consistent with regular timeframes. To that end, most discovery deadlines in Civil and Family matters generally are extended through May 10, 2020, with lengthier extensions only in specific areas.