Court Memo Urges Proper Etiquette & Decorum

By Christian Nolan

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Good afternoon Members,

Two top state court officials have issued a memorandum emphasizing appropriate decorum and etiquette for all virtual court proceedings.

The memorandum was sent to all administrative judges statewide by Hon. Vito C. Caruso, deputy chief administrative judge for the courts outside New York City, and Hon. George J. Silver, deputy chief administrative judge for the New York City Courts.

“Please ensure that judges, court staff, attorneys, and all participants in court proceedings are aware of the importance of the appropriate decorum, which is necessary for all virtual court proceedings,” the memo states.

The memo then says all virtual court proceeding participants should recognize that it is a formal appearance and should ensure the following:

  • Dress in appropriate attire, as if you were appearing in-person in court.
  • Display an appropriate and professional background.
  • No consumption of food or drink during the proceeding.
  • Remain professional and dignified.
  • As in in-person proceedings, only one person should be speaking at a time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has required all courts across New York State to innovate and adapt in order to continue to provide the effective and efficient administration of justice and access to justice for all court users consistent with the highest standards of Chief Judge [Janet] DiFiore’s Excellence Initiative,” the memo states. “Our courts have uniformly transitioned to Microsoft Teams as a platform to conduct virtual proceedings. Appropriate decorum/etiquette is a necessity during all virtual court proceedings.”

Credit Card Service Fees

The New York State Unified Court System has also announced that beginning April 1 they will no longer pay the service fee for credit card transactions initiated by court users. As a result, a service fee of 2.99% of the payment amount will be assessed on all credit card payments.

Payments may continue to be made by cash or by a cashier/certified check without the imposition of a service fee. Neither the municipality nor the court receives any portion of the service fee.

When using a credit card, there will be two transaction receipts generated – one for the court fine and the other for the service fee. The cardholder must sign both receipts in order for the payment to be processed.

In its announcement, the court system said the change was “due to continuing budgetary concerns.” The court system also noted that it is continuing to explore other technologies for electronic payments that minimize processing fees.

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Latest NYSBA.ORG News

In addition to coronavirus updates, we are adding other interesting new content to our website.

New York State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson has issued a statement condemning the recent wave of Asian-American hate crimes.

Additionally, when New York’s new right of publicity law becomes effective on May 29, 2021, a number of new protections will become codified in the state that will benefit performers and celebrities, as well as their estates. Judith B. Bass, a member of the Executive Committee for NYSBA’s Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section provides all the details.

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