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Frequently Asked Questions about the New Hampshire Supreme Court Operations During COVID-19

1. Is the NH Supreme Court conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, the Supreme Court is open for business and has remained open throughout the pandemic by conducting  most business virtually (i.e., by telephone, videoconference, or comparable means, or through the electronic filing system).  

2. Is the courthouse open to the public?
No, the Supreme Court building will be temporarily closed to in-person public access until at least December 21, 2020, except for emergency matters that require in-person filing at the clerk’s office and for individuals who are scheduled to appear for in-person court proceedings.  The Court is  still conducting all other business virtually. 

3.   Is the Law Library open?
The Law Library is reopening to the public by appointment on Monday, October 26, 2020. We will continue to offer curbside service to accommodate borrowers who would prefer not to come in to the Law Library. Visitors will be asked a series of screening questions by security and will be required to wear masks unless the wearing of masks would be contrary to their health or safety, and to comply with social distancing guidelines. Since the Law Library is located in the supreme court building, visitors should review the information at What to Know Before Coming to a New Hampshire Courthouse.

Appointments will be in 3-hour blocks from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and, for the present, only one visitor at a time will be allowed in the law library. 

Researchers wishing to make an appointment should call 603-271-3777 or email lawlibrary@courts.state.nh.us. You must give your name, phone number, and/or email so that we can contact you if needed. 

4. Is the Supreme Court clerk's office still available to receive and docket filings?
Yes, the clerk’s office is still available to receive and docket filings during its normal business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm). In recognition of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court has expanded the allowable methods of submitting filings. 

  • In any Supreme Court case, an attorney, a self-represented party, or a nonlawyer representative may submit a filing for docketing either electronically through the court’s e-filing system, or by mailing the paper filing to the clerk’s office, or by placing the paper filing in the drop box that is located in front of the Supreme Court building. The mailing address for filing is New Hampshire Supreme Court, One Charles Doe Drive, Concord, NH 03301.

5. Is the NH Supreme Court continuing to hear oral arguments?
The Supreme Court resumed in-person oral arguments in the courtroom on September 9. September and October schedules can be found at the Supreme Court oral argument calendar here: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/orals/index.htm.

6. Why did the Supreme Court previously use videoconferencing for oral arguments?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Judicial Branch’s suspension of most in person court proceedings, the Supreme Court postponed oral arguments in numerous cases that had been scheduled to take place in late March and early April. Rather than further delay those cases until oral arguments could be held in the courtroom, the Supreme Court held remote oral arguments via videoconferencing from late April through early July.

7. How did the Supreme Court use videoconferencing to conduct business?
The Supreme Court held oral arguments remotely through Cisco Webex videoconferencing software in nineteen cases. These videoconferences were livestreamed through the court’s livestream.com account and were recorded for later reference through the website. This link on the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website will take viewers to the link for livestreaming. The livestream platform can accommodate all interested viewers.

8. What actions has the NH Supreme Court taken to extend court deadlines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Supreme Court extended deadlines set forth in court rules, court orders, statutes, ordinances, administrative rules, administrative orders or otherwise that were set to expire between March 16 and April 6, 2020, to April 7, 2020.  However, Supreme Court filing deadlines that were set to expire on or after April 7, 2020, have not been extended, tolled or suspended by the emergency orders, but may be extended upon motion in accordance with Supreme Court Rules. The Supreme Court’s most recent emergency order states that the Supreme Court “will liberally consider any reasonable requests for extensions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

9. Where can I get answers to specific questions about my case?
You can request information or assistance regarding a Supreme Court case by calling (603) 271-2646 to reach the clerk’s office during normal business hours.

 

 

 

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