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The Judicial Emergency instructs courts to operate remotely and hold proceedings via teleconference and video conference.  While the original Judicial Emergency order in March 2020 restricted court functions, as of the August 11, 2020 Judicial Emergency Order, deadlines in all cases have been reimposed and courts have resumed all functions except holding jury trials.

Below is a history of the Judicial Emergency order in Georgia:

On September 10, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency until October 10, 2020 at 11:59pm.  The September 10 order is nearly identical to the August 11 order.  In the September 10 order, however, the Supreme Court allowed grand juries to resume and stated that Jury trials may be allowed to resume in the October 2020 order.

On August 11, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency until September 10, 2020 at 11:59pm.  The August 11 order is nearly identical to the July 10, 2020 order.  In the August 11 order, however, the Supreme Court expressed concern that Jury Trials could not be suspended much longer.

On July 10, 2020,the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency until August 12, 2020 at 11:59pm, and implemented the plan to reimpose all deadlines statewide that was announced in the June 12, 2020 order.  As a result, as of July 14, 2020, all deadlines in cases statewide are no longer tolled or extended.  The Supreme Court also ordered all courts to resume full operations and to do so via teleconference and video conference.

On June 12, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency to July 12, 2020 and made further modifications to the order.  The largest change was an announcement that on July 14, 2020, all deadlines in existing cases (except deadlines pertaining to jury trials) will resume state wide.  Further, the Court strongly encouraged individual Judges to issue orders reinstating deadlines in individual cases, and to handle as much judicial work as possible leading up to the July 14, 2020 deadline reinstatement.

On May 11, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency to June 12, 2020 at 11:59pm and make a number of significant modifications to the order.  While Jury trials remain suspended, all other Court business has been specifically allowed to resume as of May 11, 2020. In fact, the Supreme Court stated that Court should be using video conferencing and other technology to hold proceedings, and ordered that Courts may require attorneys and parties to use such measures to move cases forward.  In addition, individual Judges have been given the authority to reinstate and set deadlines in all cases. 

On April 6, 2020, the Supreme Court extended the Judicial Emergency to May 13, 2020 at 11:59pm.  The Supreme Court also urged all Georgia Courts to continue to move all cases forward, specifically including cases not deemed essential in the March 14, 2020 order. The Supreme Court further encouraged all courts to use teleconferencing and videoconferencing as much as possible.

On March 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia declared the Judicial Emergency on March 14, 2020.  In that order, the Supreme Court directed all Georgia courts to limit proceedings and visitors to the courthouse to essential functions.  

In a series of orders issued between March 27, 2020 and March 31, 2020, the Supreme Court took unprecedented action to allow all courts in Georgia to use video conferencing to hold hearings and other proceedings.  The Court also ordered that attorneys may supervise and conduct real estate closing transactions by videoconference during the Judicial Emergency.

Georgia Judicial Emergency FAQ

What is the judicial emergency?

When does the judicial emergency end?

October 10, 2020 at 11:59pm, by order of the Supreme Court of Georgia on September 10, 2020.

Are courts still accepting cases during the judicial emergency?

Yes.  Georgia courts are accepting new filings and handling existing cases.  As of July 14, 2020, courts have resumed full operations via teleconference and video conference.

Throughout the Judicial Emergency, GPLG has continued to file documents in court on behalf of our clients by mail and electronic filing.  We have also continued to receive orders and other communication from the Courts during this time.

Can I go to court in person during the Judicial Emergency?

Generally speaking, no. While courts are permitted to hold in person proceedings under the Emergency Order, every court we have worked with is holding all proceedings by videoconference or teleconference.

Although courts have severely restricted in-person filing, almost all courts are still accepting filings by mail and/or e-filing. The GPLG team has continued to successfully file many documents on behalf of our clients.

No.  The Supreme Court of Georgia has ordered all courts to resume operations.  Given the large judicial backlogs, waiting to file could cause large delays in getting executors and administrators appointed and in resolving estate cases.  

As a result, we recommend opening the estate and handling estate matters without delay.

Should I wait to file a probate case?

Is GPLG operating during the Judicial Emergency?

Yes. Our first priority is the health and safety of our team and clients. The GPLG team has been working and fully functional throughout the Judicial Emergency. We are meeting with clients and potential clients by telephone and video. 

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