How are the Courts Handling Matters During the COVID-19 Health Crisis?

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has issued a number of Orders regarding the courts’ operations, including what matters will continue to be heard, albeit remotely, those that are postponed, as well as those emergent matters, which require immediate attention.  The most recent Order can be found here:  The Court is putting all of the below measures into effect to be consistent with Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order No. 107 requiring all non-essential businesses and persons to remain closed and otherwise at home until further notice.  Each Court Order referenced here is subject to update and modification as time goes on.

Online Filing:

The courts have opened a system called JEDS for online filing of documents in all Family Law matters.  This means anything from a Complaint for Divorce, to a motion, to a letter to a Judge can be submitted through this online platform.  This provides access to the Court in a way not previously available for family law matters.  Civil, Criminal and Chancery division matters are handled through a system called E-Courts that similarly allows for the administration of cases in an electronic fashion. 

No In-Person Appearances:

Court staff, including Judges, are the only persons permitted to enter all courthouses throughout the State of New Jersey.  Each courthouse has a procedure for filing material, in the ordinary course, as well as filing documents for emergent matters.  Each courthouse has established a list of emergent email addresses to which those documents can be forwarded for filing and for resolution by the Court. As many matters, as possible, are instead going to be handled via phone or video conference. The attorneys are Shane and White, LLC are in contact with the Judge’s chambers regarding their upcoming appearances.  Arrangements are being made for motions to be addressed, case management conferences to be held, and otherwise speak with the Courts for resolution of matters “on the papers.” 

Early Settlement Panel & Civil Arbitration Proceedings:

These matters are specifically postponed but will be scheduled to continue via phone or video conference.  As information regarding these appearances become available, your attorneys will be in contact with the Court to schedule same.  The Early settlement program timeframes are being extended to allow, submissions be sent directly to program panelists, proceedings to be conducted in locations other than the courthouse; and for Post-ESP proceedings to go on without requiring a court order to be entered in advance.  These proceedings will resume, with participation in any session by phone or video on Monday, April 13, 2020, but this may be different depending on the county in which your case is being processed.  The most recent Order on this issue can be found here:

Hearings and Trials:

Most plenary hearings and trials are suspended and will be rescheduled upon the courthouses reopening.  There are particular circumstances when these matters may proceed, with the agreement of all parties. The Supreme Court has suspended all jury trials and grand jury proceedings.

Temporary Restraining Orders and Final Restraining Orders:

Temporary Restraining Orders continue to be issued by the local magistrate judge through your local police department.  No victim of domestic abuse should hesitate to contact the local authorities to seek restraints. Each local court is handing the issuance of Final Restraining Orders differently.  For the most part, there are no hearings being held and therefore, all temporary restraining orders will remain until such time as the Courts reopen.

Extension of Deadlines and Timelines:

The Supreme Court has also “tolled” or extended certain filing deadlines for persons unable to access the courthouses and have extended grace periods for the exchange of information between parties during discovery phases of the case. Our attorneys at Shane and White, LLC will be in contact with each of our present clients about their pending matters, including scheduling changes and providing new details as they become available from the court. Our lawyers will continue to work on resolving matters of immediate concern.  Please call us at (732) 819-9100 or through our website. We are available to answer your questions and help you navigate this uncertain time.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. This website is designed to provide general information only, and does not represent the opinions of Shane and White, LLC attorneys. The information is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date with recent legal developments, verdicts or settlements. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific facts/circumstances/case. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and emails, but note that contacting us alone does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like advice regarding your individual situation, you should contact Shane and White, LLC. to schedule a consultation to obtain legal advice. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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