COVID-19 Update for New York Courts

Virtual Courts Up and Running in Westchester County, NY

Courts Remain Open for Essential and Emergency Proceedings

The New York State court system has instituted a number of emergency measures to deliver essential justice services to allow the virtual court operations−allowing essential and emergency court proceedings to be conducted remotely.

The program began in the New York City’s Criminal Court and Family Court on March 25, 2020 and March 26, 2020, respectively, has been rapidly expanded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our shift to a virtual court system has made it possible for participants in essential and emergency proceedings to appear remotely via Skype, dramatically reducing the number of people in our courthouses to protect public health and safety,” said Chief Judge DiFiore in a video message. The virtual courts now operate in all 62 counties of New York State.

“As we work, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure continued access to the New York State Courts while prioritizing the health and safety of our judges and staff, court users and the public, we have implemented a series of unprecedented, temporary measures: beginning by placing restrictions on courthouse entry by at-risk persons; subsequently consolidating essential matters in a limited number of designated court parts; to today’s statewide transition to virtual court operations, which will eliminate person-to-person contact in court proceedings and minimize courthouse traffic,” said Chief Administrative Judge Marks.

With the implementation of the “virtual courts,” all essential and emergency court matters−throughout New York City and in every Judicial District outside the City−will be heard by video or telephone.

All non-essential court functions had already been suspended by Administrative Order, with an amendment to this order permitting judges, criminal defendants, civil litigants, attorneys and some court staff to appear by videoconference for essential and emergency court proceedings.

Chief Administrative Judge Marks has announced that the courts will begin to address non-essential pending cases, including tort, medical malpractice and asbestos, commercial, matrimonial, trusts and estates, felony and others, on Monday, April 13th. Court conferences regarding these pending cases will need to be conducted remotely via Skype or telephone. The filing of NEW non-essential cases continues to be suspended.

While court proceedings remain open to the public, court security will strictly monitor and may limit access to maintain social distancing in accordance with current public health authorities’ guidelines.

Riebling & Payton, PLLC, are Criminal Defense and Family Law attorneys located in Westchester County, NY and have been practicing for a combined 50 years. To learn more about Mr. Riebling, Ms. Payton and the firm, visit Riebling & Payton, PLLC at