New Hampshire Judicial branch seal
Image: Find Your Court!
Frequently Asked Questions about the New Hampshire Courts Return to Full Operations

Supreme

Superior

Circuit

Supreme Court

1. Is the NH Supreme Court conducting business?
Yes, the Supreme Court is open for business during normal business and the clerk’s office is still available to receive and docket filings during its normal business hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm).The public will also have access to both public kiosks in the Supreme Court building.

2. Is the Law Library open?
The Law Library is open to the public. Researchers who have questions 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. 

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

4. 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.


Superior Court

1. Are all of the Superior Courts processing cases?
Yes.  All of our courts are staffed and processing cases. 

2. Is the Superior Court conducting any hearings?
The Superior Court is conducting in-person hearings for most matters, although some previously scheduled remote hearings are continuing. All emergency matters and time-sensitive subjects that involve people’s liberty, such as bail hearings, plea hearings that result in the release of a defendant and other criminal and civil matters the parties deem urgent, are being conducted in person.  For example, a pretrial hearing to resolve issues that would help the parties settle a case may constitute an urgent matter.  If you are unsure please contact the clerk of court in the court in which your case was filed.  You may reach the clerk by contacting the Information Center at 1-855-212-1234.

3. What about my deadlines for filing or responding to a motion? Have those been moved?
All deadlines set forth in court rules, court orders, statutes, ordinances, administrative rules, administrative orders or otherwise that were moved to May 4 are still in effect.  Filings which would have a response come due after the May 4 extension have not had their deadlines changed.

  • Example 1: If a motion to dismiss was filed on April 4, your 10-day deadline to respond was extended to May 4.
  • Example 2: If a motion to dismiss was filed on April 28, which falls before the May 4 extension ends, your deadline to respond remains 10 days or May 8.
  • Example 3: If a motion to dismiss was filed on May 8, which fall after the May 4 extension ends, your deadline to respond remains 10 days or May 16.

Please note that the first two emergency orders did not toll the deadlines, but instead extended the deadlines to May 4, 2020. 

4. How do I get access to Superior Court case files before June 14?
The Superior Court has updated its online portal to expand free access to some electronic files. This means parties in selected criminal or civil case can access files in their case by following directions at https://odypa.nhecourt.us/portal. Case summaries of all non-confidential cases will also available online to anyone.  If the information you seek is not available to you on the portal, you can call the Information Center to request help accessing case information at 1-855-212-1234, but because of high volumes of calls, there may be a delay before we can fulfill your request.

Public kiosks will be available on June 14.

5. What if I am willing to have my non-emergency hearing conducted by video or telephonically?
We will conduct any hearings by video or telephonically if you contact the clerk of court to make the request. You may reach the clerk by contacting the Information Center at 1-855-212-1234.

6. When will my jury trial occur?
Consistent with the continued guidance from health officials and the current COVID-19 data, the Court has decided to resume jury operations in all counties. You will receive a scheduling notice when your jury trials is set to begin.

7.  Is the Superior Court conducting grand jury proceedings?
Grand jury proceedings began in all the Superior Courts as of May 14.  


Circuit Court: District/Family/Probate

Hearings - Circuit Court: District/Family/Probate

1. Are the Circuit courthouses open for business?
The courthouses are fully open. You may come to the court to file or review paperwork, pay a fine, or conduct any business that you have.

2. Are the public kiosks open?
The kiosks will be available again beginning on June 14th.

3. How are Circuit Court hearings being held?
The Circuit Court held hearings in person, and via telephone or video throughout the pandemic. Moving forward many hearings will be held in-person as they were prior to the pandemic and some will continue to be remote. The Circuit Court issued Administrative Order 2021-05 which explains that certain types of hearings will be conducted by video or telephone.

4. I have a court hearing scheduled. I am not sure whether or not I have to come to court or participate by phone or video for my hearing. What should I do?
If you have questions about a specific case, please contact the Information Center at 1-855-212-1234 and they can tell you whether your case is scheduled to be in-person or remote.

5. When will my cancelled or postponed case be rescheduled?
Hearings will be rescheduled in accordance with statutorily mandated timelines, court scheduling protocols, and individual court and judicial resources. This means that some cases will necessarily move more quickly than others. You will receive a notice when your hearing is rescheduled.

6. I received a notice from the court saying my hearing will happen over the phone but I don’t have access to a phone. What do I do?
You may attend the hearing in person. Or, you can send a letter to the address on your court notice explaining that you do not have access to a phone and that you are requesting a later date for your hearing. Depending on the type of case, the court may or may not be able to grant your request.

7.
I need to file a document for a hearing that is coming up soon, and the document requires notarization. How do I get it notarized?
During the state of emergency, the courts will accept all documents without notarization.  However, the document will have to be notarized later, when courthouses reopen to the general public.

 
8. I owe a fine to the court. Will the court accept payment?
Yes. You may either pay your fine at the court or mail a check to the court. Alternatively, you can call the Information Center, which will route you to the court where the fine is owed so you can provide credit card information. NOTE: Due dates for fines are no longer extended. If you owe a fine to the court and are unable to pay, you must file a motion with the court requesting relief.

 
Domestic Violence

9.   I need to file for an order of protection or a restraining order, how do I do that?
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. The court forms to request an order of protection are available online or in person at the courthouse. Unless you are working with a Crisis Center or Family Justice Center, completed forms must be brought to the courthouse in person so a judge can make a decision while you are there For assistance with safety planning, information, and referrals, crisis center victim advocates are available 24/7 at 1-866-644-3574 (domestic violence and stalking) and 1-800-277-5570 (sexual assault).

10. Is it possible to file for an order of protection or restraining order electronically? Until further notice, individuals may file a Domestic Violence or Stalking Petition electronically into a specially created email box by contacting a Crisis Center or Family Justice Center. Individuals are still able to file Domestic Violence and Stalking petitions in person at any Circuit Court location. For more information, please review the Circuit Court’s webpage on Domestic Violence and Stalking Petitions.

Criminal Matters

11. My criminal hearing has been cancelled but I would like to resolve it now. How can I enter a plea of guilty?
If you have an attorney and have reached a plea agreement, your attorney may contact the court to request that a telephonic plea be scheduled. If you do not have an attorney, reach out to the prosecutor to negotiate.  If you have reached an agreement with the prosecutor, the prosecutor may contact the court to request that a plea be scheduled. You will receive notice from the court when it is scheduled.

12. I was told that I would not have an arraignment. How will my case proceed?
The courts are now open to the general public and criminal cases filed after June 7, 2021, will be scheduled for in person arraignments at the courts.  If your case was filed before June 8, 2021, the Court will automatically enter a plea of “not guilty” on your behalf and schedule your first hearing which will be a “telephonic status conference”. You will also receive copies of your complaints in the mail with some additional information based on the level of offense you are charged with. For example, if you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor, you may wish to request court appointed counsel to represent you and should fill out a Request for Lawyer form as soon as possible and mail or bring it to the court.

13. What happens after the “telephonic status conference”?
Some cases will be resolved at the status conference by plea or will be scheduled for a plea in the future. Some cases will be scheduled for a trial to be held in the future.

Evictions
Due to rapidly changing Federal law and policy, eviction cases are subject to a variety of new and interconnecting requirements and restrictions. This FAQ section attempts to answer some of the basic questions about how the Circuit Court is responding to these new policies. However, given the complex and evolving nature of Federal policy, landlords and tenants should seek legal counsel regarding their rights and obligations in evictions cases.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended the moratorium on certain evictions through June 30, 2021. The Judicial Branch continues to monitor changes to Federal law and policy affecting eviction cases and will update this site as the situation evolves.

Tenants

14. Is there any financial assistance available to tenants who are struggling to pay rent or utility bills?
Yes! The New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP) provides assistance with rent and utility payments for eligible tenants. NHERAP can assist eligible tenants with both back and future rent and utility payments to help tenants stay in their homes. For more information, go to the program’s website or check out these FAQs.

15. I have applied for the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP). What does that mean for my eviction case?
The Court does not have a direct role in administering the NHERAP and parties are not required to be involved in an eviction case to apply for NHERAP. A pending application or potential eligibility for NHERAP will not pause an eviction case or prevent an eviction from being ordered. Tenants must still file an appearance with the Court and attend any scheduled hearings if they want to contest the eviction. Tenants who do not file an appearance or attend a scheduled hearing may be evicted without further notice, even if they have applied for NHERAP.
However, landlords and tenants with pending eviction cases who wish to seek assistance from NHERAP may agree to continue their cases to give time to apply for assistance. Landlords and tenants who reach such an agreement should file the agreement or a motion to continue based on such an agreement with the Court where the eviction case is pending.

16.  Can I be evicted by my landlord?
It depends on the reason for the eviction. All commercial evictions, and residential evictions based on the following reasons, are proceeding as normal:

  • Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises (except where the alleged crime is criminal trespass based solely on a tenant’s non-payment of required rent);
  • Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
  • Damaging the property;
  • Violating health and safety regulation; or
  • Violating a provision of the lease, other than payment of rent or other charges.

If the eviction is for any other reason, including non-payment of rent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an agency Order , initially effective September 4, 2020 and renewed effective April 1, 2021, prohibiting landlords from pursuing an eviction of residential tenants if the tenant provides a declaration of certain facts to the landlord. The declaration, signed under penalty of perjury, must include factual statements that the tenant:

  • Has used best efforts to obtain available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • Earned no more than $99,000 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return) in Calendar Year 2020; or expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return); or was not required to report any income in 2020 to the IRS; or received a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment) in 2020 or 2021;
  • Is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • Is making best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as possible, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  • Being evicted would cause the tenant to be homeless— or forced to move into and live in close quarters in a hotel or other shared living setting— because the tenant has no other available housing options.

If the above statements are all true and the tenant provides the declaration, the landlord may not pursue an eviction. This means the landlord cannot serve an eviction notice, seek a landlord/tenant writ, or obtain or serve a writ of possession, through June 30, 2021. Landlords in eviction actions must notify the court about whether the tenant has provided a declaration when the landlord first requests to start the court process, as well as if the tenant provides a declaration under the CDC Order at any time prior to the service of a Writ of Possession by the sheriff. Violation of the CDC Order is a federal crime.
The federal government has prepared a declaration form for tenants to use. However, tenants are not required to use the form declaration. Any written document which contains all the required statements, including a statement that the document is signed under penalty of perjury, is sufficient to the trigger the protections of the Order. Additionally, tenants may make the required declarations in a language other than English.

17. I provided my landlord with a declaration under an earlier version of the Order. Am I required to provide a new declaration every time the Order is renewed?
No. A signed declaration submitted under a previous version of the Order remains valid and covered tenants do not need to submit a new declaration to remain covered by the Order.

18. Do I have to pay part of the rent to halt the eviction?
You are not required to make partial payments to trigger the protections of the Order, nor are you required to provide documentation to support the assertions in your declaration. Instead, giving a declaration containing the proper assertions to your landlord is sufficient to trigger the protections of the CDC Order.

19. Do I have to keep paying rent?
Your obligation to pay rent, including back rent, is not changed by this Order.

20. I received a Landlord Tenant Writ telling me to file an appearance in court if I want to challenge my eviction. I gave my landlord the declaration. Do I still need to file an appearance?
Yes. The CDC Order only halts evictions through June 30, 2021. Filing an appearance with the court tells the court that you want to contest the eviction when residential evictions resume and ensures that the court is able to notify you of any developments in the case. Also, if a hearing is scheduled after you file an appearance, please attend the hearing. You can then tell the judge anything you think they should know, including whether you gave a declaration to your landlord.

21. I lost my eviction case at trial, but gave my landlord a declaration under the CDC Order, halting the eviction. What should I do if I still want to appeal the trial court’s decision?
Under the Supreme Court’s current emergency order, the deadlines related to appeals, and payment of rent during an appeal, are not placed on hold when a tenant provides a declaration to the landlord. That means if you want to appeal a decision in an eviction case, you must:

  • File a Notice of Intent to Appeal form with the Circuit Court within 7 days after the date of the notice of the court’s decision; and
  • File a Notice of Appeal electronically with the Supreme Court within 30 days after the date of the notice of the court’s decision; and
  • Pay all rent, as it comes due, between the date of the Notice of Intent to Appeal and the final disposition of the appeal. If the eviction is based on non-payment of rent, you will be required to pay rent to the court on a weekly basis, starting on the day you file the Notice of Intent to Appeal.

If you do not take these steps, or if you stop paying rent while your case is on appeal, you will give up the right to appeal, a Writ of Possession (eviction order) will be issued to your landlord when the CDC Order expires, and you will have to pay the landlord any money that the judge ruled that you owe the landlord.

22. I am appealing my case and was ordered to pay rent to the court. What should I do now?
If you were ordered to pay rent to the court while appealing your case, you must continue to do so. The obligation to pay rent to the court is not changed by the CDC Order; all payment obligations continue until a judge says otherwise. If you fail to pay rent, you may lose the opportunity for the Supreme Court to hear your case. However, if you are covered by the CDC Order and you give the proper declaration to your landlord, a Writ of Possession may not be served on you until after June 30, 2021.

23. What will happen when the CDC Order expires?
Under the Supreme Court’s current emergency order, when a tenant becomes a covered person under the CDC order, most unexpired deadlines are extended through the final day the CDC Order is in effect, currently June 30, 2021. Only deadlines related to filing a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Circuit Court, filing an Appeal with the Supreme Court, and paying rent on appeal are not extended if the tenant is covered by the CDC Order. When the CDC Order expires, the time for calculating previously extended deadlines will begin again the day after the Order expires, currently July 1, 2021. In other words, the time for complying with any deadline that had not expired when the tenant delivered a declaration to the landlord and became covered by the CDC order, such as the deadline filing an appearance with the court, will start over on July 1, 2021.

24. Can my landlord turn off my heat during this State of Emergency?
No. Landlords are always prohibited from willfully causing the interruption or termination of any utility service provided to a tenant, except as necessary for repairs and emergencies. If your utilities are shut off by your landlord you can seek emergency relief through a tenant petition.

25. I have more questions about my case. What should I do?
If you have questions about eviction cases generally, you should also review the court’s landlord and tenant website. If you have questions about your case, such as whether a hearing has been scheduled, you may call the Court at 1-855-212-1234.
The law prohibits court personnel, including the judge, from giving legal advice or counseling to any party. If you have questions you are unable to answer by reviewing this document, the court’s website, or doing your own research, you may want to consult an attorney. However, legal assistance may be available to you. Go to the Court’s self-help site for more information.

Landlords
26.  Is there any financial assistance to landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay rent?
Yes! The New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP) will make rent payments directly to landlords on behalf of eligible tenants. NHERAP can assist eligible tenants with both back and future rent and utility payments to help tenants stay in their homes and compensate landlords. Unlike prior rental assistance programs, landlords, with the consent of their tenants, may apply for assistance on their tenant’s behalf. For more information, go to the program’s website or check out these FAQs.

27.  My tenant or I have applied for the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP). What does that mean for my eviction case?
The Court does not have a direct role in administering the NHERAP and parties are not required to be involved in an eviction case to apply for NHERAP. A pending application or potential eligibility for NHERAP will not pause an eviction case or prevent an eviction from being ordered. However, landlords and tenants with pending eviction cases who wish to seek assistance from NHERAP may agree to continue their cases to give time to apply for assistance. Landlords and tenants who reach such an agreement should file the agreement or a motion to continue based on such an agreement with the Court where the eviction case is pending.

28. May I evict a tenant?
It depends on the type of tenant and the reason for the eviction. Non-residential evictions, and residential evictions based on the following reasons, are proceeding as normal:

  • Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises (except where the alleged crime is criminal trespass based solely on a tenant’s non-payment of required rent);
  • Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
  • Damaging the property;
  • Violating health and safety regulation; or
  • Violating a provision of the lease, other than payment of rent or other charges.

Residential evictions based on any other reason, including non-payment of rent, are subject to an Order by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) temporarily halting evictions. If the tenant gives you a declaration that complies with the CDC order, you may not pursue an eviction until July 1, 2021. The tenant may give you the declaration at any time, including prior to service of an eviction notice and up until the writ of possession is served by the sheriff. Once you receive the declaration, you must notify the court (if you have an eviction case in progress) and immediately stop pursuing the eviction. Violation of the CDC order is a Federal crime. If the tenant does not give you a declaration, however, you may pursue an eviction as normal.

29. Do my tenants still owe rent?
Their obligation to pay rent, including back rent, is not changed by the CDC Order. The Order says you may continue “charging or collecting of fees, penalties, or interest as a result of the failure to pay rent or other housing payment on a timely basis, under the terms of any applicable contract.”

30. What do I need to file with the court to start or continue a residential eviction?
You must file an Affidavit of Compliance with Federal Law and provide a copy of the Affidavit to the tenant in order to receive a Landlord Tenant Writ and start a case. If a residential eviction was in progress as of September 4, 2020 (i.e., a Writ of Possession had not yet been issued), you must file an updated Affidavit, noting whether your tenant has given you a declaration under the CDC order. If you do not file the updated Affidavit, your case will not move forward.

31. When will I receive a writ of possession based on non-payment of rent?
The court began processing non-payment of rent cases on July 1, 2020. As long as you complied with federal and state law and a judgment for landlord was entered, Writs of Possession were issued between July 1, 2020, and September 4, 2020. For cases still in process on September 4, 2020, Writs of Possession will issue if you file a new Affidavit, the tenant has not provided a declaration under the CDC Order, judgment for you was entered, and the tenant has not appealed. Writs of Possession will not issue if you fail to provide a new Affidavit or if the tenant provides a declaration to you. For cases initiated between September 4, 2020, and June 30, 2021, you must provide an Affidavit attesting that tenant has not provided a declaration before receiving a Landlord Tenant Writ. If a Landlord Tenant Writ issues, the tenant does not provide a declaration at any time prior to eviction, and judgment is entered for you, a Writ of Possession will issue.

32. I have heard that the federal CARES Act affects evictions. How does the Act affect my case?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act provides some protection to residential tenants in certain “covered properties,” as defined by the law, including any property that has a federally backed mortgage loan or participates, or has any tenant participating, in various federal housing programs. The CARES Act requires that landlords seeking to evict tenants from a covered property for non-payment of rent or other fees must provide 30 days’ notice prior to filing an eviction action, even if a shorter notice period would be permissible under New Hampshire law. While other provisions of the CARES Act expired on December 31, 2020, the 30-day notice requirement for covered properties remains in effect indefinitely.
To ensure compliance with the CARES Act, you must file an Affidavit of Compliance with Federal Law documenting your compliance with, or exemption from, the CARES Act. The court will not enter (or, in the case of actions already filed, will not schedule hearings or issue writs of possession for) eviction actions based on non-payment of rent without this affidavit. The affidavit can be found of the court’s website.

33. May I challenge the declaration my tenants have provided?
You are required to notify the court at any time a declaration is provided to them by the tenant. The notification is in the form of the revised CARES Act Affidavit, now titled Affidavit of Compliance with Federal Law. If the declaration is provided AFTER this Affidavit has been filed, you must also notify the Court immediately.

The CDC Order provides that, “This Order does not preclude a landlord form challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, or resident’s declaration in court, as permitted under state or local law.” However, the Order does not provide any procedure by which a landlord may raise a challenge to the tenant’s declaration. Ultimately, it will be up to the judge to decide whether and how the tenant’s declaration may be reviewed.

34. What will happen when the CDC Order expires?
Under the Supreme Court’s current emergency order, when a tenant becomes a covered person under the CDC order, most unexpired deadlines are extended through the final day the CDC Order is in effect, currently June 30, 2021. Only deadlines related to filing a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Circuit Court, filing an Appeal with the Supreme Court, and paying rent on appeal are not extended if the tenant is covered by the CDC Order. When the CDC Order expires, the time for calculating previously extended deadlines will begin again the day after the Order expires, currently July 1, 2021. In other words, the time for complying with any deadline that had not expired when the tenant delivered a declaration to the landlord and became covered by the CDC order, such as the deadline filing an appearance with the court, will start over on July 1, 2021.

35. I have more questions about my case. What should I do?
If you have questions about eviction cases generally, you should also review the court’s landlord and tenant website. If you have questions about your case, such as whether a hearing has been scheduled, you may call the Court at 1-855-212-1234.

The law prohibits court personnel, including the judge, from giving legal advice or counseling to any party. If you have questions you are unable to answer by reviewing this document, the court’s website, or doing your own research, you may want to consult an attorney. However, legal assistance may be available to you. Go to the Court’s self-help site for more information.

Accessibility Options | FAQ | Site Map | Contact Us | N.H. Legislative Branch | N.H. Executive Branch | NH.Gov | Revised Statutes Online