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Pennsylvania Supreme Court directs local courts to restore more operations


In an order issued today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court directed county courts to restore a wider range of operations, while giving priority to critical matters and remaining focused on protecting the health and safety of court users, personnel and the public. “Courts play a central role in our constitutional democracy, and it’s important to ensure that they are available to those seeking vindication of their rights or resolution of disputes,” said Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Saylor. “The COVID-19 health emergency has forced everyone to adapt, and courts have quickly adjusted to handle a wide range of matters remotely.

“While the court has extended the judicial emergency through June 1, in order to provide president judges with authority to address varying local conditions, we recognize the need to move beyond emergency matters to a much broader range of court functions. We do so, however, giving priority to our most critical functions and in a manner consistent with public health and safety.”

With the exception of speedy trial calculations under Rule of Criminal Procedure 600, the statewide suspension of time calculations and deadlines provided for in the courts previous orders will end effective May 11, 2020. President judges are given substantial discretion in the enforcement of deadlines, with due regard for public safety.