Mar 17 2020

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Issues Emergency Standing Orders in Light of COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has issued a series of new standing orders. Key orders include the following:

  • Until April 6, 2020, in person proceedings in MA state courthouses are only for emergency matters that cannot be resolved via video or telephone conference
  • Clerk’s offices remain open to accept pleadings in emergency matters
  • Entry into courthouse for emergency matter limited to attorney, party, witnesses and necessary persons
  • Each trial court shall issue a new standing order to supplement or replace the standing order from March 13 and March 14, including definition of what constitutes an emergency
  • All trials scheduled to begin before April 17, 2020 will be continued to a date no earlier than April 21, 2020 unless bench trial and can be continued through other means beyond in person. Where jury trial has already commenced a mistrial will be declared
  • A party can file a motion requesting exemption from this order but must show exceptional circumstances
  • Time periods of continuances from this order exclude speedy trial computations under criminal regulations
  • Where trial or evidentiary hearing is postponed pursuant to this order parties can request a video/phone conference with the court to address matters which will arise due to the postponement, including bail and conditions of release in criminal matters
  • All statute of limitations tolled from March 17 through April 21

For more detailed information about these orders, please click here.

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