COVID-19 Home

Transition to Phase 2

The New Jersey Courts resumed some in-person court services on Monday, June 22. A small number of judges and court staff are working on-site each day. The rest continue to work remotely to ensure safe distancing can be maintained.

Courthouses and court facilities are open only to attorneys, litigants, and members of the public with scheduled proceedings or appointments. You do not need an appointment to seek a domestic violence restraining order at a county courthouse. See the video for more information.

Read the first report on the Judiciary’s Post-Pandemic Plan.

If you need help, please reach out. Our Help Desk line is 609-421-6100. Our ombudsmen can answer questions by phone and email. Our Self-help Center has forms and instructions to help you file your case. Watch this video to learn about electronic filing for litigants.

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For more information about COVID-19 coronavirus, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/ or NJ.gov/health or call the 24-hour public hotline at 1-800-222-1222

Important Information for Attorneys

Scheduled Court Hearings

The courts entered Phase 2 of the post-pandemic plan on June 22. Most court hearings are still being held by phone and video conference.

Cases that require the parties to agree to remote proceedings

Civil:
  • Final guardianship hearings
Criminal:
  • Sentencing hearings
  • Bench trials
  • Hearings about which evidence can be used in court
Family:
  • Juvenile delinquency final ruling
  • Termination of parental rights
Municipal:
  • Sentencing hearings
  • Trials for defendants who are at risk of going to jail
  • Hearings about which evidence can be used in court

All other cases can be heard remotely with or without the agreement of the parties.

Read the full list of case types being heard online

How to attend a court hearing

If you have a court hearing, you will receive information from the court about how to join the proceeding from your computer or phone.

How to observe a public court hearing

There are three ways to access online court proceedings:

Recording a public court hearing

You must submit a request form in advance to record any court hearing. This includes court hearings held by video or telephone. Read the Guidelines on Media Access and Electronic Devices for more information.

Interpreting Services

Interpreters must be provided during remote court events the same as if the case were taking place in the courthouse.
Request an interpreter

Read More

Read the April 20 court order and the April 24 court order about court operations under COVID-19.

Contact a Court

Municipal Court Contact Info
Superior Court Contact Info
Appellate Division:  Call 609-815-2950
Tax Court: Call 609-815-2922
Supreme Court: Call 609-815-2955

Housing Issues

Under Executive Order 106, homeowners and residential tenants cannot be evicted until 60 days after the Governor’s emergency order regarding COVID-19 is lifted.

The Office of Foreclosure has resumed all other normal operations, including processing motions in all foreclosure case types and issuing writs with final judgments. Where a final judgment is entered in a foreclosure matter, an eviction cannot take place until 60 days after the Governor’s emergency order is lifted. All other foreclosure documents, including complaints, answers, motions and defaults, will continue to be filed.

Notice and Order - COVID-19 - Landlord/Tenant - Amendment of Summons and Complaint Forms (Rules Appendices); Rule Relaxations; Orders to Show Cause

Need help? Contact a local housing counselor or attend a virtual seminar.

Additional information on housing assistance can be found on NJ.gov.

Notice and Order – COVID-19 – Fifth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice

Renters

Landlord/tenant trials are on hold until further notice. All other actions, such as motions and settlement conferences, can continue. Under the Supreme Court’s July 14 order, evictions can only occur in emergencies and cannot be based on nonpayment of rent. Trials can only be held in the event of the death of a tenant or if the court determines that an emergency exists, such as documented violence, criminal activity, or other health and safety concerns.

Another executive order allows renters to use their security deposit to help pay rent.

Find more resources for landlord/tenant issues in our Self-Help Center.

Homeowners

Find out how to answer a foreclosure complaint and more information in our Self-Help Center.

Filing cases

Attorneys and self-represented litigants can file documents through the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

Jury Service


The Judiciary will resume in-person jury trials in September. Jury selection will begin online. Some jurors will be asked to come to the courthouse for further rounds of jury selection. The Atlantic/Cape May, Bergen, and Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem vicinages will be the first locations for jury trials. Read the press release.

Juror Safety

The NJ Courts are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NJ Dept. of Health to protect all court users. This includes jurors.

Read more about safety precautions for jurors

Watch the video about safety precautions for all court users

Grand Jury

A pilot program to hold grand jury sessions by videoconference has begun in two counties. If it is successful, it will be used to help move forward cases that await indictment. Read the press release.

Read the June 15 order about the expansion of the grand jury pilot program to include grand jury selection.

Read the May 14 order authorizing remote grand jury sessions.

Read the June 9 order eliminating the need for the defendant's consent to hold remote grand jury sessions.

 

Learn more about jury service on our Jury Information Page.

Domestic Violence

Are you in danger? Call 911 right away.

Isolation is one of the most significant factors that leads to an increase in domestic violence and safety risks. Don’t let social distancing mean social isolation. If you are - or someone you know is – living in fear of intimate partner violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-572-7233.

      Transition to Phase 2

      The New Jersey Courts resumed some in-person court services on Monday, June 22. A small number of judges and court staff are working on-site each day. The rest continue to work remotely to ensure safe distancing can be maintained.

      Courthouses and court facilities are open only to attorneys, litigants, and members of the public with scheduled proceedings or appointments. Individuals seeking a domestic violence restraining order also can appear at a court without an appointment. See the video for more information.

How to File for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) during COVID-19

    1. Due to COVID-19, courthouses are operating primarily remotely. Call or go to the county courthouse during normal court hours. It can be in the county where you live, where the defendant lives, where the act of violence took place, or in the county where you are seeking shelter. Contact a local courthouse.

    2. An individual who wishes to apply for a restraining order remotely, without going to a courthouse, can call the Family Division. The Family Division in each county will have a telephone number posted on their web page to contact the court to apply for a restraining order.

    3. Contact your local police department if you need a restraining order after normal court hours.
      They can help you ask a municipal court judge to issue a TRO.

      Read Directive #19-20 for more information.

Submitting Documents.

Both attorneys and self-represented litigants can submit documents through the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

Restraining Order Violations.

These are also called DV Contempt cases or FO Docket cases. DV Contempt cases are being heard remotely. As with cases before COVID-19, victims must have a chance to participate in the sentencing hearing. They also can object to the scheduling of the hearing or the way the case will be conducted. They should have advance notice if the court might delay sentencing because of COVID-19.

Sentencing for DV Contempt.

Judges might decide to delay a jail or prison sentence as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The decision will be based on public safety and other factors. Also, the victim will be given the chance to respond to the proposed delay. In general, the rest of the sentence will not be stayed. This could include payment of fines or license suspensions.

Probation officers will attend sentencing hearings. If the judge delays incarceration because of COVID-19, the defendant might be supervised by probation.

Read the April 30 Notice to the Bar for more details.

Child Support

There are many resources to help you meet your child support obligations during COVID-19.

Pay in Person

You can find addresses for courthouses and payment locations here. Many of the payment locations are close to courthouses.

Pay Online

Some payment options require set up of an account. Visit NJChildSupport.org to see all of your payment options.

NJ Child Support App

You also can make payments through the free NJ Child Support App, which is available at the Apple App Store and at Google Play.

Federal Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments

Your child support obligations could impact how much stimulus money you receive. Learn more about child support and stimulus payments. You can also read about the Treasury Offset Program and child support.

Additional Resources

Childcare

Essential workers in need of childcare can find a list of emergency child care centers.

Food and housing.

Anyone in need of housing assistance can contact their local housing assistance field office. You can also contact your local shelters and food pantries for help.

Filing cases.

Both attorneys and self-represented litigants can file documents through the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

View our Child Support home page for more information.

Lawsuits (Civil Cases)

Trials

Most in-person jury trials are suspended.

Trials for non-jury lawsuits of $15,000 or less can be held by phone and videoconference if the parties consent. The parties also can try to settle the case without trial.

Read the May 15 Notice to the Bar for more information.

Small Claims under $3,000.

Most in-person trials for small claims cases are on hold until at least July 26. Judges can conduct virtual trials if the parties consent.

Special Civil cases under $15,000

Many people do not respond to lawsuits for unpaid bills and other money problems. This is called a default. Plaintiffs in those cases automatically win the case if the defendant defaults. Automatic defaults are suspended through July 26.

Medical and Professional Malpractice

The deadlines for filing affidavits of merit in medical and professional malpractice cases has been extended through July 26.

Phase 2 Post-Pandemic Plan

Beginning June 22, some civil cases could be handled in person. Those include:

  • Civil jury trials that were suspended due to COVID-19. All parties must agree to resume the trial onsite and the Chief Justice must approve.
  • Bench trials and hearings in criminal matters that are too complex to handle online.

See the June 10 Notice to the Bar for more details on the Phase 2 post-pandemic plan.

Filing cases

See our Self-Help Center for filing help. Self-represented litigants can file documents for most lawsuits through the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

Attorneys must use eCourts for:

  • Foreclosure / General Equity
  • Civil Law
  • Special Civil DC
  • Criminal
  • Family Children in Court dockets (FN, FG, FC, FL)
  • Tax Court
  • Appellate Division

Attorneys must use JEDS for:

  • Chancery / General Equity
  • Special Civil Landlord / Tenant
  • Special Civil Small Claims
  • Family Dissolution (FM)
  • Family Non-dissolution (FD)
  • Family Domestic Violence (FV and FO)

Discovery deadlines

Discovery deadlines after March 16 were extended through May 10.

Courtesy Copies of Civil Court Filings

The requirement that the parties must provide courtesy copies of their court filings is suspended through July 26. Courtesy copies are still required if the submission is more than 35 pages long.

Request extension for an individual case

Many things can affect lawyer or litigant’s ability to proceed with each case. You can request an extension without a formal motion by submitting a letter. Read Court Rule 1:1-2(a) for information about when the court might be able to grant an extensions.

Arbitration in civil cases

These court events are taking place by phone or video conference. You will receive a court notice if an arbitration session is scheduled.

Sending notices to parties

The court has extended the time period for sending some types of notices to other parties. This includes summonses in response to track assignment notices. It also includes notices of tort claims.

Filing Cases

Attorneys can use eCourts to file civil cases. Self-represented litigants can use the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system. Both attorneys and litigants should use JEDS for filing cases under $15,000.

See our Self-Help Center for more information.

Civil Guardianship of an Adult

These matters will be heard by phone or by video conference. Because of COVID-19, access to people in care facilities is limited. Therefore, many of the steps required to have someone declared in need of a guardian can be completed by phone, videoconference, or email.

Read the April 8 Supreme Court Order for more information on changes the court rule.

Phase 2 Post-Pandemic Plan

Beginning June 22, some contested hearings about declaring an adult in need of a guardian could be held on-site. See the June 10 Notice to the Bar for more details on the Phase 2 post-pandemic plan.

Filing Cases

Guardianship cases cannot be filed electronically in eCourts or JEDS. Contact your county surrogate for filing instructions.

See our Self-Help Center for more information.

Criminal Cases

Jury Trials

Jury selection and criminal jury trials will resume incrementally on or after September 21, 2020. Jury selection will be conducted through a hybrid process, done both virtually and in-person. Trials will be conducted in person with social distancing.

Cases for indictable offenses are “tolled” from April 27 through September 20. This means that time period also does not count toward the overall time it takes to resolve that case. Tolling cases does not mean that they cannot move forward. For example, plea bargains can be held by phone or video conference.

Phase 2 Post-Pandemic Plan

According to the Judiciary’s Phase 2 post-pandemic plan, some criminal matters could be handled in person. Those include:

  • Criminal jury trials that were suspended due to COVID-19. All parties must agree to resume the trial onsite and the Chief Justice must approve.
  • Bench trials and hearings in criminal matters that are too complex to handle online.
  • Sentencings.
  • Guilty pleas.
  • Final extreme risk protective order (ERPO) hearings if the parties do not consent to remote proceedings.
  • Violations of monitoring and violations of probation for defendants not in custody.

In-person appearance by inmates will be strictly limited during Phase 2.

See the June 10 Notice to the Bar for more details on the Phase 2 post-pandemic plan.

Sentencing

COVID-19 has brought about the need for social distancing. Judges have been asked to weigh this fact when they hear criminal cases. They also must think about public safety. Judges might decide to put off a sentencing hearing because of COVID-19. Judges also might delay the start of a jail or prison sentence as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Also, the victim will be given the chance to respond to the proposed delay. Other parts of the sentence, such as license suspensions or payment of fines, might not be stayed. If the judge delays the start of jail or prison time because of COVID-19, the defendant might be supervised by a probation officer. Probation will supervise the defendant. Read the April 30 Notice to the Bar and the May 29 Notice to the Bar for details.

Filing Cases

Attorneys can use eCourts to file documents in criminal cases. Self-represented litigants can use the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

Municipal Court

There are no in-person municipal court sessions right now. Some municipal courts have begun hearing cases by video or phone. Contact the municipal court for details on how they will hold their court hearings.

Phase 2 Post-Pandemic Plan

Beginning June 22, some municipal court bench trials and hearings could be handled in person if they are too complex to be handled online.

See the June 10 Notice to the Bar for more details on the Phase 2 post-pandemic plan.

Plea by mail

Many municipal courts will allow defendants to plea by mail. Contact the municipal court to see if your case is eligible. If so, you can complete the plea by mail form and mail it to the court.

Jail Sentences

COVID-19 has brought about the need for social distancing. Judges have been asked to weigh this fact when they hear municipal court cases that might include a jail sentence. They also need to think about public safety. Judges might decide to put off a sentencing hearing because of COVID-19. Judges also might delay the start of a jail or prison sentence as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Also, the victim will be given the chance to respond to the proposed delay. Other parts of the sentence, such as license suspensions or payment of fines, might not be stayed.

Probation Supervision

Supervision of adults and juveniles is taking place by phone and by video.

Recovery Support

Maintaining sobriety during times of stress can be a challenge. These recovery podcasts might be helpful. You can reach out to an online or telephone support group if you need to talk to someone. The NJ Cares Resource Guide lists more recovery support organizations.

Mental Health

You can contact a mental health screening center if you need help right away

Childcare

Essential workers in need of childcare can find a list of emergency child care centers.

Food and Housing

Anyone in need of housing assistance can contact their local housing assistance field office. You can also contact your local shelters and food pantries for help.

Visit our Adult Supervision and Juvenile Supervision home page for more information.”

Divorce

Divorce matters are being handled remotely. Matrimonial Early Settlement Panels also are taking place by phone and videoconference.

Phase 2 Post-Pandemic Plan

According to the Judiciary’s Phase 2 post-pandemic plan, some family court matters could be heard in person. This includes bench trials and hearings for very complex cases.

See the June 10 Notice to the Bar for more details on the Phase 2 post-pandemic plan.

Filing cases

Both attorneys and self-represented litigants can file documents through the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system.

Courtesy Copies of Court Filings

The requirement that the parties must provide courtesy copies of their court filings is suspended through July 26. Courtesy copies are still required if the submission is more than 35 pages long.

Visit our Self-Help Center for guidance on filing divorce cases

Tax Court

Deadlines extended

A law signed on May 28, 2020, extends the filing deadlines for local property tax appeals in almost all counties to July 1. It also extends the deadline for county boards of taxation to decide those appeals to Sept. 30. The law does not include Gloucester and Monmouth counties.

If you have any questions, call the Tax Court at 609-815-2922 and select Option 1.

Filing Information

For state tax complaints use the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system. File a state tax complaint only.
For property tax appeals use eCourts. File a local property tax complaint and subsequent documents through eCourts. Do no use JEDS for local property tax filings.

See our Self-Help Center for more information.

Appellate Court

Request extension for an individual case

Many things can affect lawyer or litigant’s ability to proceed with each case. You can request an extension without a formal motion by submitting a letter. Read Court Rule 1:1-2(a) for information about when the court might be able to grant an extensions.

Filing cases

Attorneys can use eCourts to file documents in criminal cases. Self-represented litigants can find information here about how to file.

Juvenile Cases

Juvenile cases are being heard remotely. As with cases heard before COVID-19, victims must have the chance to participate.

Disposition

COVID-19 has brought about the need for social distancing. Judges have been asked to weigh this fact when hearing juvenile cases. Judges might delay the disposition of a case if detention is likely. Judges could also decide to go ahead with sentencing but delay the start of the sentence. The juvenile must be considered a low risk to the community. Also, the victim will be given the chance to respond to the proposed delay. Judges can decide to delay the start of the juvenile’s detention based on public safety factors. Other parts of the sentence, such as payment of fines, will not be stayed.

Probation officers will attend sentencing hearings if needed. If the judge delays detention because of COVID-19, the juvenile could be supervised by probation.

Read the April 30 Notice to the Bar for details.

Accessing Court Records

You can get most court records from the Superior Court Clerk’s Office in Trenton. Call 609-421-6100 for instructions. The Records Request Form can be found in the Self-help Center.

Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel

No doctors, nurses or healthcare works can be required to appear in court at this time. There are very few exceptions. They cannot be required to give depositions.

Where to Find Legal Help