COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Find COVID-19 announcements, FAQs, and more.

Help Us Keep the Public and Our Staff Safe

Courts are operating with reduced capacity. By order of the Chief Justice, only people with business at the courthouse will be allowed to enter. Masks or face coverings are required. Filings are encouraged to be mailed and will be treated as timely if received by mail within 5 days of the due date. You may be able to handle your ticket or citation through our online services. You can also sign up there for text and email reminders about your court date.

Check your county's information for changes to hours of operations, remote hearings, announcements, and more. If you need additional information, contact the clerk of superior court office before going to the courthouse. Find updates for the Supreme CourtCourt of Appeals, and Business Court. View the Webex - Remote Proceedings for the Public (training resource).

Announcements and Orders

Many court operations have been modified by orders of the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court since March. While a summary is provided below, you should read the applicable order for details that might affect your case. See the orders below.

Filing Deadlines

  • Filings in civil cases that were due between March 16 and June 1 were timely if filed before the close of business on June 1.
  • Filings in criminal matters that were due between March 16 and July 31 were timely if filed before the close of business on July 31.
  • Filings that were due pursuant to a statute of limitation or statute of repose between March 16 and July 31 were timely if filed before the close of business on July 31.
  • Filings due in the appellate courts between March 27 and April 30 were extended by 60 days.
  • Notices of appeal due to be filed between March 16 and June 1 were timely if filed by June 30.

Emergency Directives

Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has entered a number of emergency directives affecting operations of the trial courts.

  • No jury trials will be held before October 15.
  • Courts must allow for social distancing when scheduling cases.
  • Many hearings can now be conducted online by teleconference.
  • Documents that ordinarily require a notary can be submitted with a signed statement under penalty of perjury.
  • Pending bond forfeitures are stayed until November 30.
  • Filings submitted by mail will be timely if received within 5 days of the due date.
  • Magistrates may require appointments and limit the hours available for marriages.
  • Clerks may require appointments and limit the hours that public records are available.
  • Hearings in summary ejectment actions (evictions) may be scheduled within 30 days, rather than the usual 7 days.

Orders

Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives Emergency Directives 2–5, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   October 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extension of Time in Bail Bond Forfeiture Proceedings   September 30, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2–6, 8–15, 18, and 20–22   September 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2-6, 8, 18, and 22   August 24, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9-15, 20-22   August 15, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2-8   July 29, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directive 18 Regarding Summary Ejectment Cases   July 24, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9-15, 20   July 20, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Issuing Emergency Directives 21 and 22   July 16, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 2 to 8   June 29, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 18   June 29, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 9 to 16   June 20, 2020 Order | Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Issuing Emergency Directive 20   June 20, 2020 Order  | Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 17 to 19 for Staying all Pending Evictions and Establishing New Mediation Program   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending and Modifying Emergency Directives 2 to 8   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Time and Periods of Limitation for Filing Notice of Appeal   May 30, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Filing Deadlines   May 21, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 9 to 16   May 21, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Supreme Court Modifying Certain Rules of Practice and Continuing Judicial Education   May 14, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Emergency Directives 1 to 8 until May 30   May 1, 2020   |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directive to Resume Marriage Ceremonies   April 16, 2020
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Filing and Court-Related Deadlines   April 13, 2020   |  
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 1 to 7 Postponing Court Proceedings Until June 1   April 2, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Supreme Court Extending Appellate Court Deadlines   March 27, 2020 Order
Order of the Chief Justice Extending Court System Deadlines   March 19, 2020 Order  |  Spanish
Order of the Chief Justice Emergency Directives 1 to 2   March 13, 2020 Order  |  Spanish

 
Find and search all local orders, rules, and forms
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Scam Alert

We have received reports of the "jury duty scam" taking place in counties. The caller identifies himself or herself as a member of the sheriff’s office, informs the victim that they have failed to appear for jury duty, explains that the clerk’s office has issued an order for their arrest, and advises the victim they can resolve the situation and avoid arrest by paying a large amount of money using a credit or prepaid debit card.

THIS IS A SCAM! If you receive such a call, simply hang up and do not stay on the phone. Learn more.

COVID-19: County Updates

Find county announcements and administrative orders regarding COVID-19.

COVID-19: FAQs

Find frequently asked questions about court during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: NCAOC Guidance to Court Personnel

Find NCAOC guidance to court officials concerning the court system’s response to COVID-19.

County Updates

Find the latest COVID-19 updates by county, including orders, changes to hours of operations, remote hearings, announcements, and more.

Also, see the closings and advisories page where some changes in local court sessions may be reported. Counties provide information, administrative orders, and more on the county's pages. Be sure to check both during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find and search all local orders, rules, and forms.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Spanish | Preguntas frecuentes

If you have a question about your court case, please first view the county's pages in which the case is filed for any local announcements, as well as the closings and advisories page, then if needed contact the clerk of superior court office. You may find other helpful information about the court system’s response and announcements above.

The Judicial Branch cannot provide legal advice or address actions by individuals or entities that do not involve the courts or the impact of orders issued by the Chief Justice. Individuals who need legal advice about rights and remedies under the law should seek the advice of an attorney.

Is jury duty canceled?

Yes. The Chief Justice has ordered all jury trials to be postponed. However, if you have received a summons to serve on a grand jury, you should report on the day required.

Are the courts ordering evictions? The stay of summary ejectment and eviction actions pending in the trial divisions in Emergency Directive 17 issued by Chief Justice Beasley in a May 30th order has expired. Trials in small claim actions seeking possession of real property were allowed to resume on Monday, June 22nd, subject to other Emergency Directives issued to ensure safety protocols such as social distancing. Review COVID-19 information for landlords and tenants from the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center.

Are the courts open to victims of domestic violence? North Carolina courts remain open, and protective orders are being processed. Victims of domestic violence in Alamance, Brunswick, Cumberland, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Orange, Rockingham, Rowan, or Wake counties can file online with the help of a local domestic violence service provider.

What if a parent is out of work due to COVID-19 and child support payments are due? You should seek the advice of an attorney. If the NC IV-D agency (North Carolina Child Support Enforcement Agency) is involved in the case, contact Child Support Services to determine if a review is appropriate.

What happens to upset bids during this time? All sales of real property subject to an upset bid period continue to be subject to upset bids. Please note that some clerk’s offices are operating with limited staff and hours. Please plan accordingly. (Note: Emergency Directive 15 in Chief Justice Beasley’s order entered on June 20, which currently expires on July 20, applies to filings, including upset bids, submitted to the Clerk of Superior Court by U.S. Mail.)

Does the Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive allow court reporters to take oaths remotely in depositions? The Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive temporarily waives the requirement for an oath to be administered in a deposition. The directive states, “When it is required that an oath be taken . . . it shall be sufficient if the subscriber affirms the truth of the matter to be verified. . .” The directive does not waive the in-person requirement for taking of oaths or conducting other notarial acts.

Do I have to have documents notarized? The Chief Justice’s Emergency Directive allows documents to be filed without a notary if the following statement appears on the document instead.

“I (we) affirm, under the penalties for perjury, that the foregoing representation(s) is (are) true. (Signed) ___________________”

Jury Service Frequently Asked Questions

Jury Service During COVID-19 FAQs (PDF)

Why are the courts summoning jurors when the virus is still going around and there is no cure?

Jury service is one of the cornerstones of our system of justice, expressly provided for in the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina Constitution. The Court has an obligation to uphold the constitutional rights of the citizens of this state, which includes the right to a jury trial.

Effective October 16, 2020, the Chief Justice has ordered that courts may resume jury trials in district and superior court if a Jury Trial Resumption Plan for the county and trial division has been approved by the NCAOC and entered as a local administrative order. For counties that have received approval for their plans, local judicial officials are free to resume jury trials in their discretion. However, local judges retain discretion to suspend jury trials in their counties / districts based on local needs and COVID-19 conditions.

What safety precautions are being taken at the courthouse to protect jurors?

Chief Justice Beasley has directed each county and / or district to create a Jury Trial Resumption Plan prior to issuing juror summonses for trial. The plan must ensure that court operations comply with each of the emergency directives that the Chief Justice has issued and must be informed by the Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force Best Safety Practices as set forth in NCAOC’s COVID-19 Field Guidance.

For example, each plan must include:

  • A confirmation that each court facility and any alternate facility to be used for court operations follows each of the Chief Justice’s emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • A plan for conducting jury selection and trials with social distancing in the courtroom and in the deliberation room;
  • A plan for daily screening of jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties for COVID-19 infection;
  • A plan for making face coverings available to jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties; and
  • A plan for responding in the event that a juror, defendant, attorney, witness, judge, or other courtroom personnel becomes symptomatic, tests positive for COVID-19, or has a known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the trial.

All persons who are in a court facility are required to wear a face covering while they are in common areas and when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person. Steps are being taken to clean facilities frequently according to CDC guidelines and to create an environment conducive to social distancing. Court staff is also encouraged to wash hands frequently. Some counties have installed plexiglass to serve as a barrier and are taking temperatures of anyone who enters the court facility. The Chief Justice has directed that hand sanitizer be made available, at a minimum, at all entrances to court facilities. Jury selection and / or trials may be held in a different location if the courthouse or courtroom cannot safely accommodate social distancing for jurors.

Notices have been posted at the entrance to each court facility directing that any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 should not enter the courthouse. Attorneys and other persons who do not have business in a courthouse should not enter a courthouse, and those who do have business in a courthouse should not prolong their visit once their business has concluded. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to submit filings by mail rather than in person.

Visit your county’s page to view any local orders regarding specific procedures. See the Judicial Branch COVID-19 page for more information and emergency directives.

I am considered a high-risk individual for COVID-19 and I have been summoned for jury service. Do I have to appear?

Contact the clerk of superior court in the county where you have been summoned for juror excuse policy information or refer to your juror summons for information related to requesting an excuse.

I live with a person / I am a caretaker for a person who is a high-risk individual for COVID-19 and I have been summoned for jury service. Do I have to appear?

Contact the clerk of superior court in the county where you have been summoned for juror excuse policy information or refer to your juror summons for information related to requesting an excuse.

Do I have to wear a mask at the courthouse?

Yes. All persons who are in a court facility are required to wear a face covering while they are in common areas and when they are or may be within 6 feet of another person. In this context, a face covering means “a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is simply wrapped around the lower face.” Plastic face shields may be used in addition to, but not as a substitute for, face masks / coverings. A “face shield” means an item of personal protective equipment that consists of a plastic barrier, usually attached to a helmet or headband, that shields the wearer’s face from splashes, coughs, or sneezes.

This face covering requirement does not apply to persons who cannot wear a face covering due to health or safety reasons, who are actively eating or drinking, who are communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired in a way that requires the mouth to be visible, who are temporarily removing their face covering to secure medical services or for identification purposes, who are complying with a directive from law enforcement, or who are under the age of 5. It also does not apply to a juror or witness who has been ordered by a presiding judicial official to temporarily remove a mask while answering questions or testifying during a jury trial.

A notice advising of this requirement will be posted at the entrance to every court facility in each county.

Will a mask be provided if I do not have one?

The Chief Justice has directed each county and / or district to create a Jury Trial Resumption Plan prior to issuing juror summonses for trials. Among other considerations, the plan must include a way to make face coverings available to jurors, court personnel, attorneys, witnesses, and parties.

Do I need to bring my own hand sanitizer?

The Chief Justice has directed that hand sanitizer be made available, at a minimum, at all entrances to court facilities. Please be aware security policies may prevent you from entering the courthouse if you have your own sanitizer. Please check with the local facility before appearing for court.

If I am selected, how will the jury pool be seated to ensure social distancing?

The Chief Justice has directed each county and / or district to create a Jury Trial Resumption Plan prior to issuing juror summonses for trials. The Jury Trial Resumption Plan must include a plan for conducting trials with social distancing in the courtroom for all court participants, including the jury, as well as in the deliberation room. In addition to other protective measures, the Chief Justice has ordered that spaces where the public and jurors will congregate be marked at intervals of 6 feet to ensure social distancing. Jury selection and / or trials may be held in a different location if the courthouse or courtroom cannot safely accommodate social distancing for jurors.

If selected for a jury, will jurors be seated in a small room to deliberate?

The Jury Trial Resumption Plan must include a plan for conducting trials with social distancing in the deliberation room. The plan that is developed must be informed by the Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force Best Safety Practices as set forth in NCAOC’s COVID-19 Field Guidance and must be approved by a wide variety of court leaders as well as the local sheriff and public health director.

The Chief Justice also ordered that each court facility designate a COVID-19 Coordinator who is directed to determine whether there is adequate space in the court facility to convene a jury trial in keeping with current public health guidance. In making this determination, the COVID-19 Coordinator will take into account the need for the jury to observe social distancing, as well as for jurors to be socially distanced in the courtroom and deliberation room. Jury selection and / or trials may be held in a different location if the courthouse or courtroom cannot safely accommodate social distancing for jurors. If you have additional questions, check with the local facility before appearing for court.

How long will the trial last?

This will vary by the policies established by each county’s Jury Trial Resumption Plan. Courts have been encouraged to limit the trial duration and to prioritize less complex trials that will require less time to hear in order to shorten the time a juror must appear.

How long will I be in court each day?

This will vary by the policies established by each county’s Jury Trial Resumption Plan.

What should I do if I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to my jury service date?

Do not appear at the courthouse to report your symptoms. If you begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to your jury service date, please inform the clerk of superior court in the county where you were summoned by phone.

What should I do if I experience COVID-19 symptoms during my jury service?

If you begin experiencing COVID-19 symptoms during your period of jury service while at the court facility, please inform the nearest court official (e.g., clerk, bailiff).

What should I do if I have concerns about the safety measures in the courthouse or if I feel safety precautions are not being followed?

If at any time during your jury service you are concerned about your health or safety due to a lack of safety measures or because guidelines are not being followed (e.g., social distancing is not being practiced, there is no hand sanitizer at the courthouse entrance), please bring your concerns to the attention of the judge, the clerk, or the bailiff to be addressed.

NCAOC Guidance to Court Personnel

Find NCAOC guidance to court officials concerning the court system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  

Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force

Find information, meetings, and working groups of the Judicial Branch COVID-19 Task Force tasked with recommending emergency directives and policy changes related to the COVID-19 health emergency.