State’s Virtual Courts to Begin Handling Some Non-Essential Business

By Christian Nolan

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The New York State Unified Court System officially announced today that beginning Monday, April 13 its virtual courts will begin handling more than just essential and emergency matters.

In a memo issued today to all trial justices and judges, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks said the judges should review their caseloads to see which court conferences can be helpful in advancing a case, including achieving a resolution. Judges can also schedule conferences at the request of attorneys, and can be available during normal court hours to address discovery disputes and other ad hoc concerns.

The conferences must be done remotely by Skype or telephone.

Marks said courts that have high volume calendars, such as compliance and trial assignment parts primarily in New York City Supreme Courts and large downstate suburban counties, are reviewing existing calendars and identifying cases that can be assigned to judges to conduct remote conferences.

“…The goal is for judges to help advance the progress of the case and facilitate their resolution,” said Marks.

Judges are also being asked to decide fully submitted motions.

“This is an ideal time for individual judges to take this opportunity to resolve any backlogs of undecided motions and other matters in their case inventories,” said Marks. “We will be activating law departments in those counties that have them, to assist you in drafting decisions.”

Marks said other steps would be taken in the weeks ahead to further increase access to justice in non-essential matters.

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