With limited exceptions, including certain emergency matters, the Maryland state courts will remain closed to the public through May 1, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to a press release from the Maryland Judiciary.

Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued the Administrative Order Extending the Length of Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency on March 25. The order continues reduced staffing in courthouses, and limits personnel to “authorized essential court staff to process emergency court matters.”

Courts throughout the state will continue to conduct remote proceedings using various communication platforms consistent with the court system’s previous order on the matter.

All non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding, including jury trials, scheduled to begin March 17 through May 1 will be postponed, unless otherwise noted.

Scheduling orders issued in civil and family law matters will be addressed by motion on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, the suspension of foreclosures and evictions has been rescinded and replaced by a new administrative order. “Foreclosures of residential property, foreclosures of the right to redeem residential property sold in a tax sale, residential evictions and executions on residential real property under levy or lien are stayed and new or pending types of these actions will be accepted but not processed during this time,” the press release stated.

Emergency matters include, but are not limited to, domestic violence petitions, peace order petitions, family law emergencies, extreme risk protective orders, bail reviews, juvenile detention hearings and search warrants. These matters will continue to be handled by the courts, which are staffed on a reduced basis, through May 1.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Maryland Judiciary to take further action to protect court visitors and Judiciary personnel,” Barbera said in the press release. “The courts remain committed in this challenging time to ensuring the public’s justice needs are met to the extent possible during this public health emergency.”

The Maryland Judiciary’s electronic filing system, referred to as MDEC, remains available and is required to be used in all MDEC counties. In non-MDEC counties or for self-represented litigants, filings can be mailed to the local clerk’s office or can be dropped off in a drop box.

The Maryland Judiciary’s online portal CaseSearch continues to be updated as clerk’s offices across the state process filings.

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