DE Courts Closed to Public – 24 Hour JP Courts Remain Open

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Delaware Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr. today ordered all court facilities closed to the public as of Monday, March 23, 2020 until at least April 15, 2020 as part of the Delaware Judiciary’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He says that the escalation of the spread of the coronavirus now requires greater precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of litigants, practitioners, court staff and the public.

Courthouse staffing will be reduced starting Monday to focus on handling emergency and essential matters, particularly those involving criminal justice. The 24-hour Justice of the Peace Court locations in each county (Court 11 in New Castle County, Court 7 in Kent County and Court 3 in Sussex County) will remain open for payment of bail for all courts and emergency criminal and civil filings for the Justice of the Peace Court. Those employees not directed to be part of the limited staffing of the courts are being directed to stay home and, as directed, work remotely until further notice.

Each courthouse will provide a method – such as a drop box – for attorneys and the public without access to e-filing who need to file paper documents when e-filing is not available. When practical, the courts shall provide an email address for attorneys and the public to email documents which will be considered filed with the court when received. The order signed by the Chief Justice also suspends certain requirements for sworn declarations or verifications. For additional details, please see the text of the order at: https://courts.delaware.gov/forms/download.aspx?id=120578

For all court proceedings conducted through April 15, 2020, when practical, the courts shall post the date and time of the hearing on the court website and, when requested, provide access to media organizations. All non-emergency and non-essential telephonic and video hearings shall proceed at the discretion of each court.

For the latest information about the Delaware Judiciary’s response to COVID-19, please visit https://courts.delaware.gov/aoc/covid-19.