Are the courts in Vermont open?

 

What are Limited-Entry Courthouses?

The Judiciary conducted an in-depth assessment of HVAC systems for every courthouse in the state. Based on the results of those assessments and improvements made to HVAC systems, most Vermont courthouses are now fully open. Some courthouses are limited-entry for jury draws and jury trials.

The list of limited-entry courthouses can be found below:

Unit: Essex (all divisions) (HVAC work completion target date - early November)
Courthouse Address: 75 Courthouse Drive, Guildhall, VT 05905

Unit: Franklin (Civil and Probate divisions) (HVAC work completion target date - late October)
Courthouse Address: 17 Church Street, St. Albans, VT 05478

Unit: Grand Isle (all divisions) (HVAC work completion target date- early October)
Courthouse Address: North Hero, VT 05474

Unit: Orleans (Family, Civil, and Probate divisions) (HVAC work completion target date -  January 2023)
Courthouse Address: 247 Main Street, Newport, VT 05855
NOTE: Courthouse is not open to the public on Fridays.

Unit: Windham (Civil division) (HVAC work completion target date - January 2023)
Courthouse Address: 7 Court Street, Newfane, VT 05345

What to Know Before Coming to Court

Can I come to court?

What do I need to know before I come to court?

  • Do not come to court if you are sick or if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last five (5) days.
  • A court security officer will screen you before you can enter the courthouse. The officer will ask you COVID-19-related health questions. Your answers will help court staff determine whether it is safe for you to enter the building.
  • If you are not allowed to enter the courthouse you will be given the telephone number of the clerk’s office. If you have an attorney, you should call your attorney. If you do not have an attorney you should call the clerk’s office as soon as possible. The clerk’s office will review your situation with the judge in your case. The judge may allow you to have a hearing online or by phone.    

What safety measures are in place to keep visitors to the courthouse safe?

  • Screening questions are asked at the door to reduce the risk of illness being brought into the courthouse.
  • Courts are being cleaned regularly. 
Where to Find Forms, How to File Documents, and How to Request Court Records

Where can I find court forms?

  • You can find court forms on the Court Forms webpage.
  • Paper forms are also available at each courthouse.
  • If you have a question about which form to use you should contact the clerk’s office. Phone numbers for the clerks are available on the Court Locations webpage.  

How can I file documents?

  • You may file your document electronically using Odyssey File & Serve (OFS)
    • If you are an attorney or otherwise required to e-file, you must use OFS.
    • If you do not have an attorney, you may use OFS if you choose.
    • To learn more about e-filing go to the Electronic Filing webpage.
  • If you are not required to e-file using OFS, you file your documents with the court by email, regular mail, courier, or in person. 
    • To file by email:
      • Attach your document to your email and send the email to the court where the case is being heard. Email addresses for the courts are on the Court Email Addresses webpage.
      • Include the case number and the division where the case is being heard (for example, “Family Division,” “Criminal Division,” “Civil Division,”) in the subject line of your email.
      • Sign your filing.  The signature can include your typed name with an /s/ in front of it (for example, /s/ Jane Doe).  An electronic version or scanned copy of your signature is also permitted.
      • Other types of signatures are also allowed.  If you have questions about what signature to use in an email filing you should contact the Judiciary’s Information Center at 802-652-1900.
  • To file in person, bring the document to the courthouse.
  • To file by mail or courier, send the document to the mailing address where your case is pending. The courts’ addresses are available on the Court Locations webpage.

I need to file a Relief from Abuse (RFA) petition. What can I do?

  • If you need an RFA after regular court hours you should call the court’s RFA hotline at 1-800-540-9990.
  • If you are filing an RFA during regular court hours see the FAQ called “How can I file documents?”
  • For any RFA, you may also want to call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-800-228-7395 for additional support.

I am a plaintiff seeking to file foreclosure actions or eviction actions. What do I need to know?

  • Eviction

    • A plaintiff asking to evict a tenant from residential housing based solely or in part on nonpayment of rent, must file the form “Declaration of Compliance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”

    • The form requires a plaintiff to declare that the plaintiff provided notice as required by the CARES Act or that the leased property is not covered by the CARES Act.

  • Foreclosure

    • In any residential property foreclosure action and all residential mobile home replevin action, the plaintiff must file the form “Declaration of Compliance with the Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program.”

    • The form requires plaintiffs to declare that they have provided the defendants with notice regarding the availability of VHAP funds or that the notice is not required because the property is not a one-to-four-unit property that is owned and occupied as the defendant’s primary residence.

I am the defendant in a foreclosure action, can I get help with my mortgage payments?

  • If you own and occupy the property as a primary residence and have suffered financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be qualify for funds to pay past-due mortgage payments, escrow charges, and other fees through the Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program (VHAP).
  • If you have applied for funds and believe you qualify, you may ask the court to put your case on hold while your application is reviewed.
  • You may use the form available on the judiciary website.

Can I get court records if I can’t enter the courthouse?

  • Yes. The first step is to complete the Request for Access to Court Records form. You can then email the form to the court, mail it to the court, or bring it to the court. A link to the form is here:
  • Email addresses for the courts can be found on the Court Email Addresses webpage.
  • The court will fill your request as soon as reasonably possible.
Information About Remote Hearings and Remote Jury Trials

Many court hearings are now being held remotely. That means some or all of the people participate by video or phone, including judges and attorneys. Please visit the Participating in Remote Hearings page for tips and frequently asked questions to learn how to prepare for a remote hearing. If you would like to view a non-confidential hearing, please visit the Public Access to Remote Hearings page.

Information for attorneys and jurors participating in remote jury trials can be found below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jury Service During COVID-19

Jury trials have restarted in Vermont after having been suspended in March 2020 because of COVD-19. Visit the Jury Service During COVID-19 page to see more information and frequently asked questions.