Some court proceedings delayed by the pandemic can now be scheduled on audio or video conference.

Court have been closed for all but essential business since March. In light of the governor’s most recent guidance, the Maine Judicial Branch has now updated its orders for court operations during the pandemic. While more hearings will be allowed to take place, the courts will still be operating on a limited basis for at least two more months.

Most evictions, foreclosures and small claims hearings are now postponed until the end of May. Jury trials and grand jury proceedings will be delayed until the end of June. All other case types can be scheduled as long as they take place on audio or video conference. The courts will continue to prioritize certain events, like hearings on bail for defendants in custody, child protective matters or protection from abuse orders.

Cases before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will be argued on video conference or handled without oral arguments. Emergency deadlines – for example, for restitution payments – are extended to at least June 1.

Courts will still be open for limited hours, and some court documents can be filed by email. Members of the public are required wear masks or face coverings in courthouses.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will also convene a stakeholders advisory group to address the pandemic and its impact on court operations.

The updated orders are available at courts.maine.gov.


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