• Samira Amato

Bay Area Courts impacted by COVID-19

Updated: Apr 21

Across California Coronavirus has shut down the Court systems leaving families and litigants without the legal redress. For most part, the Courts are addressing cases involving children safety issues, domestic violence and civil harassment matter. Below are some of the Bay Area's Court's Orders and their current operational capabilities:


Alameda County Superior Court: On March 16, 2020, the Superior Court of Alameda County (Court) issued Orders closing most Court operations from March 17, 2020, up to and through April 7, 2020. The days March 17, 2020, through April 3, 2020, will be considered court holidays per Code of Civil Procedure sections 12 and 12a. On April 3, 2020 new Orders were made extending this to May 1st. All filings will be suspended during this time, except temporary restraining orders and emergency Probate applications. Limited criminal matters are taking place. On March 25, 2020, the Court issued Orders authorizing the release of certain low-risk offenders arrested for failing to appear at previously scheduled court dates. The court also issued a release that despite the public Court closure, it has resumed telephonic Self- Help services. On March 27, 2020 The Court announced that it anticipates conducting video arraignment calendar on Wednesday, April 1, following the Cesar Chavez holiday on Tuesday, March 31.


On April 10, 2020 the Court announced the resumption of the Court’s fax filing service and opening of limited emergency Civil, Family, and Probate fax filing opportunities, and the tentative start of limited emergency hearings the week of April 20, 2020.


Contra Costa County Superior Court: On March 16, 2020 The Court issues Orders that will be closed for majority of its hearings until April 01, 2020 and extended all timelines accordingly. On April 02, 2020 the Court made Orders extending this to April 28, 2020. On March 27, 2020 the Court issued Orders indicating that it will not accept unlawful detainer filings. The Court has also requested authorization from the Chief Justice to continue its closure through April 30, 2020, and will issue a further release with details. The Court will accept filings for emergency criminal and juvenile matters only beginning March 30, 2020. Except unlawful detainer proceedings with are stayed, all other filings will be accepted at this time after April 06, 2020.



San Francisco Superior Court: On March 24, 2020 the Court made Orders that for purposes of computing time for filing March 18, 2020 through April 15, 2020 are deemed holidays. Criminal and civil trials are extended by 60 days from March 24, 2020. Law and motion & Complex litigation hearings are vacated and will be reset when the Court resumes. Unlawful detainer actions are stayed for 90 days, until June 19, 2020. Family law hearings, excluding domestic violence hearings are vacated. DVRO trial continued for 21 days from March 24, 2020 except those cases that include custody and visitation orders.


On April 01, 2020 the Court modified said Orders, vacating majority of hearings from March 23, 2020 through and including May 22, 2020 and some new deadlines were reset for filing of motion and discovery issues. Family law hearing (excluding restraining order matters) current set between March 23, 2020 through June 22, 2020 are vacated and will be reset. All DVRO trials set from March 17, 2020 through April 15, 2020 will be continued by the Court, except when child custody and visitations are an issue.


On April 13, 2020, the Court modified its previous orders extending new timeline that for purposes of computing time for filing April 16, 2020 through June 01, 2020, 2020 are deemed holidays. The Court also extended filing timelines associated with various criminal matters. Civil trial (excluding unlawful detainers) dates through June 01, 2020 are vacated and the court will set new dates 60 days from the trial date. Civil Mandatory Settlement conferences and law and motion hearings are also vacated and will be reset when the Court resume normal operations. Unlawful detainer hearings are stayed until June 19, 2020. Family Law hearings, mandatory settlement conference, law and motion and trials (not including domestic violence) are vacated and will be reset. Temporary Restraining Order hearings are continued for up to 90 days except those hearings that involve custody and visitation issues.


San Mateo County Superior Court:  On March 17, 2020 The Court made Orders for the purposes of timelines and filings March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 are deemed holidays; this was later extended to May 14th. On March 23, 2020 The Court made Orders staying all jury trials for 60 days. On March 25, 2020, in conformity with the Orders of the First Appellate District Court, the Court extended timelines per California Rules of Court by 30 days. The Court issued Orders staying all unlawful detainer and Writ of possession filings and hearings through April 07, 2020. On March 27, 2020 the Court indicated that all law and motion hearings will not be heard prior to April 07, 2020 and hearings will get continued.


On April 1, 2020 the Court modified its Orders suspending most civil trial (excluding juvenile and family law cases) through May 21, 2020. On April 3, 2020 The Court made Orders for the purposes of timelines and filings April 01, 2020 through May 14, 2020 are deemed holidays.


On April 09, 2020, the Court made new orders, reissued and extended its March 16th Emergency Response Order to suspend of all trials and hearings until May 21, 2020 and closing the Court to the Public until May 21, 2020. This is with exception of those limited court calendar cases concerning domestic violence, limited probate and limited criminal.


On April 13, 2020 the Court issued guidelines regarding best practices for parents sharing custody and visitation.


On April 16, 2020 the Court implemented Orders regarding conduct and guidelines of attorneys and parties who are allowed to enter the Courthouse for limited criminal and domestic violence hearings.


Santa Clara County Superior Court: On March 17, 2020 Santa Clara Superior Court issued Orders suspending all non-essential functions for three weeks. On March 23, 2020, Orders were made allowing people with hearings or seeking to file pleadings regarding domestic violence, children safety issues, civil harassment, school violence, workplace violence, elder abuse inside the Courthouse. The Court Ordered that essential personnel are permitted into the Court house including some hearings that may be required in dealing with defendants' constitutional rights. The Court also made Orders delaying eviction proceedings consistent with Santa Clara County Urgency Ordinance dated March 24, 2020 and Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order dated March 16, 2020.

On April 01, 2020 the Court made Orders for the purposes of timelines and filings whereby March 30, 2020 through and including April 28, 2020 are deemed holidays. The holiday designation only affects filing deadlines with the Court. The court also extended temporary restraining orders in effect which would have expired on April 6th to April 28, 2020.

The Court made Orders on April 3, 2020 whereby family law trials and Family Code section evidentiary hearings, including settlement conferences excluding Requests for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, scheduled between Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through Friday, May 01, 2020, are hereby vacated. See April 07, 2020 Notice. Trials originally scheduled during this period will be re-scheduled to a Status Conference. On April 03, 2020 special Orders of virtual supervision of visitation was made as well as the Court's April 02, 2020 guidelines on visitation policy.


On April 08, 2020 the Court made Orders allowing for CourtCall appearance for all family law hearings.


Santa Cruz County Superior Court: On March 17, 2020 Santa Cruz County Superior Court curtailed its services to those that are essential or mandated by law to occur within a set timeframe. On March 24, 2020 the Court issued Orders staying its unlawful detainer, writ of possession, foreclosure actions. The Court made new modified Orders on April 08, 2020 staying entry of default on cases, continued trials by 60 days from the initial date of the trial. Special protocol was issued for certain criminal hearings and bail was set to zero for referenced misdemeanor and felony offenses. The Court also has extended timelines for filing on cases according to the type of matter. See the Court's Orders.


The Court on April 09, 2020 the Court issued Orders which adopted immediately the Judicial Council Emergency Rule Regarding COVID-19 Rule 1-2.




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