May 10, 2022

Vermont Judiciary Extends Judicial Emergency to August 31, 2022

New amendments to the emergency order extend the deadline for the judicial emergency and address operations and procedure relating to pandemic conditions

Yesterday the Vermont Supreme Court further amended Administrative Order 49. The order originally declared a judicial emergency on March 16, 2020. The order is effective immediately.

The amendments do several things. First, the Court extended the effective date of the order until August 31, 2022. The previous effective date was May 31, 2022. Second, the Court has authorized the State Court Administrator in consultation with the Chief Superior Judge to manage any necessary limits on in-person hearings and in-person access to buildings with limited air-flow systems. The affected locations and any associated restrictions on in-person hearings or in-person access will continue to be posted to the Judiciary’s website.

The amendments also remove the prohibition of in-person meetings of internal committees, boards, and commissions, though the order continues the authorization for such bodies to meet remotely.

Further, the amendments delete the provisions relating to venue in recognition of the authority that exists in statute and rule for the Chief Superior Judge and superior judges to respond to any venue-related issues stemming from the pandemic. Finally, the amendments delete provisions which temporarily amended V.R.C.P 68, dealing with offers of judgment. The Court has since promulgated a permanent amendment to Rule 68. The new rule will become effective June 20, 2022.

The full text of Administrative Order 49 and other updates regarding COVID-19 and court operations are available at www.vermontjudiciary.org/covid19.