NY Court System To Further Expand Virtual Courts

By Christian Nolan

local and state

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks released a memorandum this afternoon to all trial court justices and judges explaining the next steps in the court system’s continuing expansion of its virtual court system.

Beginning Monday, May 4, new motions, responsive papers to previously filed motions and other applications, including post-judgment applications may be filed electronically in pending cases either through the NYSCEF e-filing system in jurisdictions that have it or through a new electronic document delivery system that has been created for courts and jurisdictions where e-filing is unavailable.

This new document delivery system will enable lawyers and litigants to send documents to courts for filing and other purposes in a secure and efficient manner. A requirement of the new document delivery system is that all filings require service by electronic means.

Other new steps include:

  • Problem-solving courts may conduct virtual court conferences with counsel, court staff, and service providers via Skype for Business.
  • Judges may resume referral of matters for alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including to neutrals on court-established panels, community dispute resolution centers, and ADR-dedicated court staff.
  • Notices of appeal may be filed electronically, either through NYSCEF or through the new document delivery system.

“These are significant additional steps that will widen judicial work and responsibilities without rendering more difficult our continuing commitment to virtual court proceedings and the limitations inherent in those proceedings,” Marks told the justices and judges in his memo.

NYSBA President Hank Greenberg applauded the virtual court system’s expansion.

“It is welcome news for attorneys across the state – and for all New Yorkers – that New York’s virtual courts will be expanding the type of motions that can be filed and allowing the filing of appeals in existing cases,” said Greenberg. “New York’s lawyers are thrilled to see the virtual courts take another step toward normal operations, and we wholeheartedly support the latest actions taken by the court system.”

On April 13, virtual courts began to expand beyond just essential and emergency matters, by conferencing pending cases, deciding fully submitted motions and resolving ad hoc discovery disputes.

According to Marks, trial judges have conducted conferences or other court proceedings in over 25,000 cases since April 13. He said one-third of those cases have been settled or otherwise disposed.

“This is critically important because if we can eliminate the current backlog of undecided matters, we will be in a far better position to absorb what promises to be a surge of new litigation once the court system returns to more normal operations,” said Marks.

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