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What to Know Before Coming to a New Hampshire Courthouse

Before you travel to a courthouse, please note that access to judicial buildings has been restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may need to make other arrangements to receive information or file documents.
Who is allowed public access to courthouses?
Currently, only certain groups are allowed access, such as people who are:

  • seeking emergency relief,
  • scheduled to attend a hearing,
  • reporting for jury duty,
  • taking part in a bench trial in Circuit Court or an in-person delinquency/CHINS hearing,
  • needing to file required documents in a landlord/tenant case and or make rental payments,
  • covering a case as a member of the press.

How do I file a document with the court?
If the filing involves emergency relief or a landlord/tenant case pursuant to RSA 540 or RSA 540-A in which you must file required documents or make rental payments you may file in person at the courthouse, if you also pass the screening questions (link to below). You can also mail emergency filings to the appropriate court.

If you are filing a document for a hearing that is scheduled to occur within the next few days, you should email the filing to the appropriate court. Call the Information Center at 1-855-212-1234 for the appropriate email address.

All other filings, including for hearings scheduled more than a few days away, should be filed by mail.  If you do go to the courthouse to file a document that is not an emergency matter, you will be directed to put your document into the court’s drop box at or near the security desk.  
E-filing is encouraged as are remote bench trials at Superior or Circuit Courts. To request a bench trial, contact your clerk of court.

If I have to go to a court to file an emergency request, what can I expect at the courthouse door?
All courthouse locations are conducting screenings to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The screening questions you will be asked are:

  • Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Have you had a fever or felt feverish in the last 72 hours?
  • Are you experiencing any respiratory symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath?
  • Are you experiencing any new muscle aches or chills?
  • Have you experienced any new change in your sense of taste or smell?  
  • Have you recently traveled beyond the New England states?

Are face coverings required?
Anyone entering or working in a New Hampshire courthouse or Judicial Branch building must wear a face covering over the mouth and nose unless they have a medical condition that would be affected. People wearing face coverings should still strive to maintain appropriate social distancing from others. Face coverings will be provided if needed by courthouse security officers.

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

  • Courts are being cleaned regularly. Cleaning practices are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting supplies are available throughout the courthouse.  You can use these items to clean areas of the courtroom where you sit or wait.
  • Please use the public restrooms to wash your hands often.
  • Judges and court staff are required to wear masks, and you may see some staff wearing face shields for additional protection.
  • Social distancing signs have been placed throughout the courthouse. Please observe them.

What restrictions for courthouse visitors are in effect for those coming from out of state?
To limit possible community transmission of the coronavirus, guidance from New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services advises travelers from outside of the New England States to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New Hampshire.  In accord with this guidance, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has issued an order that will require people who have traveled from outside of New England to complete the 14-day self-quarantine period before they enter a courthouses.

Litigants and lawyers are advised to plan ahead to comply with this requirement, both for themselves and for anyone they intend to have attend, or testify during, a live proceeding.  As justice requires, the Presiding Judge can pre-approve requested exceptions to this requirement, consistent with current public-health guidelines for limiting contagion risk, such as social distancing measures and limitations on the amount of time that a person is in the courthouse.

How do I access court services without coming to the courthouse?
To access other courthouse services remotely, call the court’s Information Center at 1-855-212-1234. Or see:

Other services can be found at Judicial Branch COVID-19 Update and Resources page

How can the public access  jury trials?
Public access is available for viewing jury trials. The trial judge will make a case-by-case determination as to the option best suited for each trial. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this will be among three options:

  1. Watch a Jury Live Stream
  2. Request a seat in courtroom
  3. Request a seat in the next courtroom via Webex

To find out more about these options and which one will be used for a specific trial, go to NH Superior Court Public Access page or call the Information Center at 1-855-212-1234.



Questions?
If you need more information about accessing a courthouse or filing a document, check Frequently Asked Questions or call the court’s Information Center at 1-855-212-1234.  

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