Supreme Court of Missouri enacts further precautionary measures to combat COVID-19 pandemic

Posted

JEFFERSON CITY – In response to the coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19), the Supreme Court of Missouri this week extended through April
17 its statewide suspension of most in-person proceedings, subject to
certain listed exceptions for urgent matters required under the
constitution or state law or otherwise necessary to protect health or
safety.

Despite the restrictions, the state’s courts remain open to conduct
necessary business, though access to court buildings – including the
Supreme Court Building – has been limited to help prevent the spread of the
disease. The Court’s order does not affect a court’s ability to consider or
rule on matters and does not affect required deadlines through the state’s
electronic filing system.

The Court’s order (https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=153093) authorizes
local courts to determine how best to conduct the excepted proceedings and
other necessary court business. The Missouri Courts COVID-19 alert page –
https://www.courts.mo.gov/pandemic/, launched March 13 – links to the
various orders and notices issued by the Court, the three districts of the
Missouri Court of Appeals, each of the state’s 115 circuit courts and a
growing number of the state’s stand-alone municipal divisions. This webpage is updated throughout each day as new information becomes available.
Individuals with questions about the status of particular cases should
check Case.net, sign up for alerts through Case.net’s Track This Case tool,
ask their attorney or contact the local clerk’s office.

Today the Court enacted emergency procedures for administering oaths or
affirmations during the pandemic. By suspending any state or local court
rule that could be read to the contrary, the Court’s action permits oaths
or affirmations to be administered using videoconferencing,
teleconferencing or other available technologies. Please read today’s order
at https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=153413.

In prior actions, the Court canceled its own in-person oral arguments
scheduled in April; canceled tours; canceled or postponed meetings and
other nonessential business; and canceled its spring attorney enrollment
ceremony, which had been scheduled for April 24. The Court also expanded
the time in which the state’s more than 30,000 licensed attorneys must
obtain required continuing legal education credits and has extended their
deadline for reporting credits.

As information about and best practices for dealing with the COVID-19 from
the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
continue to evolve, the Court will continue to discuss how best to balance
the health and safety of the public, judges and court staff statewide with
the judicial branch’s responsibility to uphold the constitutional rights of
litigants seeking redress and other core constitutional functions.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment