COVID-19 Home

All state courthouses are open to the public. Visitors no longer need an appointment or a scheduled matter in order to enter a courthouse. More judges and court staff are working on-site each day. The rest continue to work remotely.

More court matters are being conducted in person, including some jury trials. Judges can schedule an in-person proceeding based on the facts and circumstances in any case.

The courts continue to conduct matters remotely. See the video for tips on preparing for a remote court hearing.

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

Important Information for Court Visitors

  • We will not ask for proof of vaccination when you enter a courthouse.
  • Masks must be worn in courtrooms and all Judiciary areas of New Jersey courthouses. This includes courtrooms in municipal courts. Vaccinated people also must wear masks. In certain situations, the judge may permit individuals to remove their mask in the courtroom.
  • Gloves are not required. Court users can wear gloves if they choose to bring them.
  • There may be restrictions on eating and drinking in court locations.
  • If you need food or drinks because of a health condition, contact the ADA coordinator before you come to court to make arrangements for an accommodation.
  • If possible, avoid bringing children to the courthouse unless they are involved in a court matter.
  • Other health precautions court users should follow:
    • Keep six feet apart from others whenever possible.
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
    • Do not come to the courthouse if you have any of these symptoms:
      • fever or chills
      • cough
      • congestion
      • runny nose
      • fatigue
      • body aches or pains
      • headache
      • nausea or vomiting
      • diarrhea
      • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Let court staff know immediately if:
    • You have any of the symptoms listed above. We will talk to you about rescheduling your court hearing.
    • You are scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination that conflicts with your court date and time. We will talk to you about rescheduling your court hearing.
  • Contact the court ombudsman in your county if you have other questions about Judiciary health and safety guidelines.

Other Covid-19 Information

The New Jersey Department of Health provides up-to-date information about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines. Judiciary health and safety policies are based on recommendations by the NJ DOH and other public health authorities.

Scheduled Court Hearings

More court hearings are being conducted in person. At the same time, other 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 where to appear in person, or how to join the proceeding from your computer or phone. Watch this video for tips on preparing for a remote court hearing.

How to observe a public court hearing

There are four 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

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

Housing Assistance During Covid-19

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.

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.

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.

      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.

Cash payments are accepted at these locations. Some locations require an appointment.

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

In-person jury trials will resume beginning June 15, 2021, although some jury matters will continue online. Read the April 12, 2021, Notice to the Bar.

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

Small Claims under $3,000.

Judges can conduct virtual trials.

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.

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)

Courtesy Copies of Civil Court Filings

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.

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.

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.

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

Some criminal matters could be handled in person. Those include:

  • 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 criminal trials will resume as of June 15, 2021. Read the Notice to the Bar.

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. 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.

Message from Chief Justice Stuart Rabner to Judges and Judiciary Staff

Dear colleagues:

One year has passed since we first started to appreciate the meaning and impact of COVID-19.

Since then, we have lost more than 530,000 lives to the virus in the United States, including more than 21,000 family members, friends, and neighbors in our State. Today, the long-awaited distribution of vaccines has brought a sense of hope, like the arrival of spring after a difficult winter. Still, looking back over the past year, we could not have envisioned how much the virus would affect our lives. COVID-19 kept us from visiting parents, children, grandchildren, and other relatives, separated us from friends, and brought treasured routines to a halt. Many of us battled the virus for weeks and are still feeling its physical effects. For others, COVID-19 claimed the lives of loved ones and then cruelly prevented us from grieving together.

Through all the personal turmoil, we made adjustments and sacrifices to continue the work of the courts. As a Judiciary, we decided early on that the court system needed to be able to handle all events, not just emergencies. We responded quickly so that court operations could continue without interruption. With the help of our superb IT staff, we rapidly transitioned to remote operations last March.

A year later, the numbers show the remarkable results: New Jersey courts have held more than 156,000 remote events, in all subject matter areas, with more than 2 million participants. That could not have happened without the dedication of judges and staff who committed to master new skills and adapt to new approaches in order to serve the public.

There are many examples of how the court system responded with agility and ingenuity in the past year, and they all have one thing in common: the exceptional dedication of the people who comprise the New Jersey Judiciary. Here are a few out of countless examples:

  • Court staff found innovative ways to help children and families. Vicinage finance offices continued to offer opportunities to pay child support in cash at the courthouse, without a surcharge, and collected tens of thousands of dollars each month to support children in New Jersey. Family Division and Probation staff used court events to connect families with local resources including food banks, employment training, homeless shelters, health care options, and unemployment benefits.
  • Each vicinage dedicated space and provided computers, laptops with web cameras, phones, and other forms of technology and support to help litigants participate in virtual court sessions. Every day, applicants for emergent relief have used those technology rooms to seek domestic violence restraining orders and prevent illegal lockouts.
  • Virtual civil jury trials continue to expand. They require immense preparation and effort behind the scenes both before and during trials. Dedicated staff in the vicinages have conducted test runs with attorneys in advance. Jury staff in Passaic even braved a snowstorm to deliver tablets with Broadband to jurors. When an attorney experienced technical difficulties mid-trial in Gloucester, IT staff went to the lawyer’s office and adjusted settings so the trial could continue. Those and other efforts enabled trials to proceed smoothly -- and did not go unnoticed.
  • Devoted Probation employees continued to supervise clients in drug court and other specialized caseloads under exceptionally challenging circumstances. In February, one drug court participant in Burlington saved a person’s life by administering CPR while the individual was overdosing. A drug court team had supported the participant, and she responded by paying that forward.
  • Judges responded to novel challenges with thoughtfulness and skill. They reached out personally to individuals subject to probation supervision and pretrial monitoring; they conducted hybrid hearings in time-sensitive matters involving domestic violence and child custody cases; and they selected jurors for civil trials and grand jury panels in a virtual format.
  • And New Jersey’s Supreme Court was among the first in the nation to offer virtual oral arguments, starting in March 2020. This afternoon, the Court is hearing its 100th matter in a virtual format.

Those and other efforts serve the public -- and inspire us all.

As we reflect on the past twelve months and look to better days ahead, we know that serious challenges await us.

  1. COVID-19 continues to pose risks to public health and our physical and mental well-being.

    The average number of new daily cases and the current rate of transmission reveal that COVID-19 is not yet under control in our state. We must all continue to follow public health precautions to minimize the spread of the virus, even after we have been vaccinated. In addition to its physical effects, the virus has taken a mental and emotional toll. Please take steps to safeguard your overall health.

  2. We need to adapt to a post-COVID-19 environment.

    The future of the New Jersey courts will look different than the past. Rather than prepare to return to pre-pandemic practices, we are reimagining how courts can better serve the public. Certain events, including criminal jury trials and grand jury sessions, will resume in an in-person format as soon as possible. Other matters, including various Municipal Court appearances and pretrial events, will likely continue in a remote format. Many proceedings will be handled in a hybrid manner, with a combination of remote and in-person options.

  3. Thousands of criminal defendants have been detained in county jails and need to proceed to trial as soon as practicable

    As part of Criminal Justice Reform, we created a more equitable system that does not determine a defendant’s pretrial status based on the person’s financial resources. That system depends in large part on being able to proceed to trial. The pandemic has forced the suspension of jury trials for many months, and it is critically important that we resume criminal jury trials -- especially for defendants who have been detained -- as soon as it is safe to do so.

  4. We must continue to strive for and achieve equal justice in the legal system.

    In its July 16, 2020 Action Plan for Ensuring Equal Justice, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Judiciary’s commitment to identify and address obstacles to equal treatment for all who come into contact with the court system, in particular, people of color and people who are poor. We have already made strides to advance several goals outlined in the Plan, and we must redouble our efforts to ensure that courts in New Jersey provide meaningful access, procedural justice, and equitable outcomes for all court users.

  5. Housing instability presents a crisis that will escalate when the moratorium on residential evictions expires.

    The Governor’s Executive Orders suspended nearly all residential evictions, and landlord-tenant trials have been on hold for a full year. Today, nearly 50,000 cases are pending, and we expect more than 194,000 new filings in 2022 -- well beyond the norm. Working with the Executive Branch, the Judiciary continues to connect tenants and landlords with available resources, including rental assistance. As we did with the mortgage foreclosure crisis a decade ago, we must also think creatively and develop strategies to try to combat widespread evictions while protecting the rights of all parties. To address the looming crisis, Superior Court judges and staff will be called on to assist with this critical docket in the coming months.

As we continue to confront challenges posed by COVID-19, we need to work together on solutions that will help ensure timely access to justice for all. With that in mind, Judge Grant recently spearheaded a series of listening sessions that allowed leaders to hear firsthand about court users’ experiences with virtual and in-person events. The sessions involved a diverse array of participants across the legal community, including the State Bar Association, county and specialty bar associations, Legal Services of New Jersey, the Division of Law, the Office of the Public Defender, and various advocacy groups. The sessions improved the level of dialogue; the feedback we received has already led to concrete changes. As always, we welcome constructive suggestions from every member of the Judiciary as well.


Thank you for your extraordinary contributions during a most challenging year. And please continue to be safe. We look forward to a better and healthier year ahead.

Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice

Municipal Court

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. This video provides tips on preparing for a remote court hearing.

Some municipal court bench trials and hearings could be handled in person if they are too complex to be handled online.

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.

COVID-19 Health Reminders

COVID-19 Health Reminders

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.

Some family court matters could be heard in person. This includes bench trials and hearings for very complex cases.

Filing cases

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

Courtesy Copies of Court Filings

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

Filing Information

Register and use eCourts to file Tax Court local property and state tax complaints and subsequent documents.
If you have any questions, call the Tax Court at 609-815-2922 and select option 1.

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.

Doctors, Nurses and Medical Personnel

No doctors, nurses or healthcare works involved in responding to Covid-19 can be required to appear in court at this time. There are very few exceptions. They cannot be required to give depositions. See the December 8, 2020 Order.