Last week we reported that all state trial courts outside of New York City had moved into "Phase 2" of the plan to gradually return to in-person operations.  In a public address today, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced that courts within New York City will officially move to Phase 2 on Wednesday, June 24. 

Phase 2 includes the following operations:

  • Essential family matters will be conducted in-person and heard by the assigned judge.
  • Criminal, juvenile delinquency and mental hygiene law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult will be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.
  • Non-essential matters will continue to be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.
  • Mediation/alternate dispute resolution will be conducted virtually.

Phase 2 also includes steps to encourage physical distancing including "staggering case types, court calendars and courtroom use."  Chief Judge DiFiore also stressed that "[w]hile there will be a measured increase in courthouse activity and staffing under Phase 2, the vast majority of non-essential matters will continue to be heard virtually."

The Chief Judge also announced that several upstate districts will move into Phase 3, in which courts have begun to hear a number of in-person matters "including child support proceedings, certain categories of criminal proceedings and a limited number of civil bench trials."  Phase 3 also includes measures to safely manage courthouse traffic such as staggering court calendars, courtroom usage and other social distancing measures.  

For more information, and the latest updates, be sure to monitor our COVID-19 Resources Page for New York Lawyers.