Supreme Court Issues New Orders Extending Suspension of In-Person Court Proceedings through May 25
Courts Will be Open to Emergency Relief Cases Though Most to be Heard Remotely
CONCORD, NH – Following the Governor’s Declared State of Emergency, New Hampshire Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Gary E. Hicks exercised special powers provided to him under the authority of RSA 490:6-a to issue new orders on Friday afternoon extending the Courts’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subject to exceptions, all in-person proceedings in the Circuit, Superior and Supreme Courts are suspended through Monday, May 25, 2020, and/or the last day of a Declared State of Emergency. These orders expressly encourage judges and clerks to conduct court proceedings by telephone, video, teleconferencing, email, or other remote means that do not involve in-person contact. The New Hampshire Courts will remain open on a restricted basis but clerk’s offices will not be open to the general public.
This means that, from now through May 25, 2020 and/or the last day of a Declared State of Emergency, citizens will not have in-person access to view files or make copies at the courthouses. They can request files electronically through the e-filing portal or by calling the Information Center at 855-212-1234. Courthouses will remain open for parties of scheduled hearings or for filing for emergency relief. Citizens can receive assistance regarding court cases or how to file for emergency relief by contacting the Information Center at 855-212-1234. Circuit, Superior and Supreme Courts all have drop boxes for filing pleadings or emergency filings that are available either outside or in the entranceway of all court facilities.
Exceptions to suspension of in-person court proceedings include, but are not limited to:
- Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants.
- Proceedings necessary to protect the public on an interim or emergency basis from a substantial threat of serious harm posed by the conduct of an attorney or judge.
- Proceedings related to petitions for temporary emergency relief.
- Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Other exceptions as approved by the Supreme Court or a single justice.
If you have questions about whether you should go to a courthouse, please call 855-212-1234. More information and the Supreme Court orders can be found at: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/aoc/corona-covid-19.html#orders