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

September 15, 2020

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order today 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

Chief Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directives 2-6, 8, 18, and 22

August 24, 2020 – Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order today extending and modifying several emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order extends Emergency Directives 2–6 and 8, and modifies and extends Emergency Directives 18 and 22. The order expires on September 22.

“These emergency directives are crucial to ensuring that our court system continues to administer justice while protecting the health and safety of court officials, court personnel, and the public,” said Chief Justice Beasley.

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 may be restricted to those who have business to conduct in the building.
  • Emergency Directive 5 – Most notary requirements are waived.
  • Emergency Directive 6 – Service required by Rule 5 may be made electronically on a party or a party’s attorney
  • Emergency Directive 8 – Magistrates must continue to perform marriages, although hours may be restricted and appointments may be required.
  • Emergency Directive 18 – Landlords must file an affidavit confirming compliance with the Federal CARES Act in any residential eviction for nonpayment.
  • Emergency Directive 22 – Senior resident superior court judges are required to submit plans for the resumption of jury trials no later than September 30.

Read the full emergency directive for more details.

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.

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Extends Emergency Directives Regarding Jury Trials, Evictions, and Public Health Measures

August 15, 2020 – Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These directives postpone jury trials and prescribe social distancing measures. The Chief Justice also extended a directive allowing additional time for clerks of superior court to schedule summary ejectment proceedings.

“These emergency directives have helped mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 in our courthouses,” said Chief Justice Beasley.“Today’s order extending the directives for 30 days is needed to help ensure public safety while conducting court business across North Carolina.”

The extended emergency directives are as follows:

*Postpone jury trials for 30 days
*Require that an affidavit be filed in residential evictions to confirm compliance with the federal CARES Act
*Require each senior resident superior court judge to craft a plan for the resumption of jury trials
*Require the public to wear face masks while in public areas of court facilities
*Require a COVID-19 coordinator for each judicial facility
*Prohibit crowded sessions of court where social distancing cannot be observed
*Require COVID-19 coordinators to approve court calendars before they are publicly distributed to ensure social distancing is possible and ensure face coverings are available for court personnel
*Require senior resident superior court judges to ensure public health measures such as cleaning and social distancing are provided in court facilities
*Ensure public access to court records and allows clerks to limit face-to-face interactions when accepting filings
*Encourage filings to be submitted by mail and allow a grace period of five days for filings received by mail
*Allow clerks of superior court additional time to schedule hearings in summary ejectment actions

For a list of 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.

Chief Justice Order – 20 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Emergency Directives 9–15, 20–22

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Issues Order Extending Several Existing Emergency Directives

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended several existing emergency directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The directives continue to allow increased use of technology and seek to limit foot traffic in courthouses.

“The extension of these emergency directives help ensure that our court system continues to administer justice while protecting the health and safety of court officials, court personnel, and the public,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “Members of the pubic should abide by all recommended public health measures in our courthouses as we conduct court business across North Carolina.”

The orders entered today by Chief Justice Beasley extend the effect of Emergency Directives 2–8. By law, emergency directives issued by the Chief Justice in response to a catastrophe expire every 30 days unless they are renewed.

The emergency directives extended today include:

*Require clerks of superior court to post notice at the courthouse to restrict entry by anyone likely exposed to COVID-19
*Allow increased use of teleconferencing for remote court hearings
*Limit public presence in courthouses to those with business to be conducted
*Waive notary requirements for court filings
*Allow certain documents to be served on another party or attorney by email
*Direct clerks of superior court not to enter or report nonpayment of money owed in criminal or infraction cases until after July 31
*Require that magistrates continue to perform marriages

For a list of 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.

Chief Justice Order – 29 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Order Extending Emergency Directive 2 – 8

UPDATE–Chief Justice Beasley Orders Extension of Emergency Directive Regarding Summary Ejectment Cases

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has extended Emergency Directive 18 for 30 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This directive requires that an affidavit be filed in residential evictions to confirm compliance with the federal CARES Act.

“Although the federal moratorium on certain evictions is ending, several provisions of the CARES Act continue to apply,” said Chief Justice Beasley. “This directive helps to ensure that magistrates have the information necessary to determine whether those provisions apply in each case.”

By law, emergency directives issued by the Chief Justice in response to a catastrophe expire every 30 days unless they are renewed.

For a list of 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.

Chief Justice Order – 24 July 2020 – 7A 39(b)(2) Emergency Directive 18