***Due to the Coronavirus-related orders issued by NC Governor Roy Cooper, the GCAA office is open on a limited basis. Staff will be available for drop-in visits on Tuesdays & Thursdays and are available by appointment only on Wednesdays. Staff will also be available by phone and e-mail. We thank you for your patience as we play our part in keeping our staff and broader community safe.***

 

Chief Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directives in Response to COVID-19

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Chief Justice Beasley issued another emergency directive extension; Directive 18, requiring landlords to provide an affidavit confirming CARES Act Compliance. This is nothing new and may continue for the duration of the year. Chief Justice Beasley has not provided any additional guidance regarding the CDC’s order, leaving Judges to navigate this process independently.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2020

Chief Justice Beasley Extends
Emergency Directives in Response to COVID-19

RALEIGH – Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an ordertoday extending emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order extends all unexpired Emergency Directives. While most have been extended for an additional 30 days, Emergency Directive 6, which authorizes service of certain documents by email, will expire on September 30.

“To win the battle against the spread of COVID-19, the Judicial Branch must remain vigilant and thorough in our preventative measures,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “The extension of these emergency directives is essential to returning our courthouse to full operation.”

A brief summary of the extended emergency directives are as follows:

  • Emergency Directive 2 – Clerks of superior court are required post a notice at the entrance to every court facility in their county directing that any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 should not enter the courthouse.
  • Emergency Directive 3 – Hearings and other court proceedings can be conducted remotely using audio or video conferencing.
  • Emergency Directive 4 – Courthouse access should be restricted to those who have business to conduct in the building.
  • Emergency Directive 5 – Allows for documents to be filed and sworn statements to be given without a notary.
  • Emergency Directive 6 – Service required by Rule 5 may be made electronically on a party or a party’s attorney. This emergency directive expires on September 30, 2020 because the modifications to G.S. 1A-1, Rule 5(b) in S.L. 2020-46 will go into effect on October 1, 2020.
  • Emergency Directive 8 – Magistrates must continue to perform marriages, although hours may be restricted and appointments may be required.
  • Emergency Directive 9 – Judicial officials should ensure compliance with social distancing and other public health guidance.
  • Emergency Directive 10 – No jury trials shall be convened for the next 30 days.
  • Emergency Directive 11 – Each senior resident superior court judges is required to designate a COVID-19 coordinator.
  • Emergency Directive 12 – Courts are required to enact specified public health precautions to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Emergency Directive 13 – COVID-19 coordinators must ensure that all sessions of court do not collectively result in an inability to socially distance and must make face coverings available to all Judicial Branch personnel assigned to courtrooms.
  • Emergency Directive 14 – Directs clerks of court to ensure court filings are accepted and that public records are accessible.
  • Emergency Directive 15 – Encourages court filing by mail and deems documents timely filed if they are received by mail within five business days of the due date.
  • Emergency Directive 18 – Landlords must file an affidavit confirming compliance with the Federal CARES Act in any residential eviction for nonpayment of rent.
  • Emergency Directive 20 – Despite the time limit in G.S. 42-28, allows additional time for clerks of superior court to schedule summary ejectment proceedings.
  • Emergency Directive 21 – With limited exceptions, requires a face covering to be worn by everyone entering a court facility.
  • Emergency Directive 22 – Senior resident superior court judges are required to submit plans for the resumption of jury trials no later than September 30.

Jury trials have been postponed since the pandemic began. The order entered today prohibits the convening of jury trials before October 15. Judges around the state continue to work with local officials and public health experts to finalize plans for the safe resumption of trials.

To view a list of previous orders from the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, please visit the continuously updated Coronavirus (COVID-19)announcement page. The public is encouraged to visit NCcourts.gov to find answers to frequently asked questions before calling the local courthouse.  Announcements from local counties about changes to court operations can be found on the county page as well as the closings and advisories page. The public may also visit the Judicial Branch Facebook page and Twitter account to access information related to the coronavirus health concern.

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About North Carolina Judicial Branch
The North Carolina Judicial Branch is an equal and distinctively separate branch and core function of government. More than 6,400 Judicial Branch employees statewide administer justice in courthouses in North Carolina’s 100 counties. The Judicial Branch budget for FY 2018–2019 was $553.2M, nearly 92% of which is used to pay salaries and the remaining 8% is used for operations. The Judicial Branch receives only 2.31% of the overall State budget.

About North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts
The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is the administrative agency for the North Carolina Judicial Branch, providing administrative services to help the North Carolina court system operate more efficiently and effectively, taking into account each courthouse’s diverse needs, caseloads, and available resources.

Media Contacts
Sharon Gladwell – O 919-890-1394 | M 919-247-2173