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Client Alert: New Jersey State Courts Enter Next Phase of In-Person Court Operations, Including Resumption of Commercial Landlord Tenant Trials Print PDF

06.08.2021

In light of the pending expiration of the public health emergency as recently announced by Governor Murphy, the Supreme Court of New Jersey is expanding in-person operations in the state courts, and has resumed commercial landlord tenant trials. In general, such trials will be conducted remotely.

Whether a commercial landlord tenant trial or conference is conducted in person or remotely will be “based on the individual facts of the case, including a participant’s demonstrated inability to participate in a remote proceeding.” Other than the remote aspect, there are no other modified procedures or additional requirements. Residential landlord tenant trials remain suspended.

In addition, as of June 15, 2021, the Superior and Municipal Courts expect up to 50% of judges and staff to be on-site in each vicinage. The number is expected to further “increase substantially” by August 2, 2021. While the public is still required to make an appointment for in-person services, with some limited exceptions, in-person service will expand over the summer to include extended hours for in-person court ordered payments and expanded availability of help desks. The Court also anticipates that, by August 2, 2021, in-person access and services in state court locations will fully resume.

Although courts are expanding their in-person operations, the Administrative Director of the Courts (the Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.) recognizes that there have been substantial benefits to remote proceedings. As such, many types of proceedings will generally continue remotely. These include: (1) motion arguments and case management conferences; (2) most Municipal Court hearings; (3) landlord tenant conferences and trials; and (4) Special Civil and Small Claims trials. Jury selection for civil trials and less complex civil jury trials will also continue to be conducted virtually. Further, courts will continue to make rooms available for self-represented litigants to use judiciary equipment to participate in remote proceedings. It is unclear from the Court’s Notice to the Bar as to whether the Court intends to preserve remote proceedings permanently.

The Supreme Court’s June 2nd Notice Regarding the Next Phase of Court Operations is available here: Notice - COVID-19 - Next Phase of Court Operations: (1) Continued Increase in On-Site Presence of Judges and Employees; (2) Expanded Capacity for In-Person Court Events; and (3) Continuation of Certain Proceedings Remotely (njcourts.gov)

The Supreme Court’s June 2nd Notice Regarding Commercial Landlord Tenant Trials is available here. 

For any questions relating to the Court’s June 2, 2021 Order or general questions relating to landlord tenant issues, please contact Scott Parker, Ben Raindorf or Tracy DeWitt.

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