Judicial Update – COVID-19

By Martha J. Efird

Litigation Section members should pay particular attention to today’s announcement by Chief Justice Beasley regarding the operation of the North Carolina court system during the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). For your convenience, a link to the announcement is here.

In summary, the Chief Justice’s Order states the following:

EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020, for 30 days, Chief Justice Beasley ordered the rescheduling of District and Superior Court proceedings calendared between March 16 and April 16. No District or Superior Court matters can be added to the calendar during the 30-day period either.

Exceptions to the scheduling include, at least:

  1. Criminal preliminary hearing (first appearance, probable cause, etc.);
  2. Domestic Violence cases (filing and hearing);
  3. Magistrates issuing warrants and performing marriages.
  4. Estate and Special Proceedings before the Clerk (guardianships, partition actions, etc.); and
  5. Matters that may be handled remotely—within the discretion of Senior Resident Superior Court Judges and Chief Judges.

Courthouses and clerk’s offices will remain open. Information regarding pending matters during the 30-day “continuance period” will be forthcoming from counties.