Due to COVID-19, the Georgia Supreme Court has ordered an emergency Order changing the way the court system works during the pandemic. The Order was first issued on March 14th, with the intention to last 1 month. It has since been re-issued every month.
The most recent Order was issued in September and will expire on October 10th. At that time, the Supreme Court will determine if the Order will be re-issued.
In short, the Order will suspend various filing deadlines. When the Order expires, attorneys will have the full time to file as was the case prior to the Order. During this time, the courts are still operating, and it is recommended that attorneys still file documents and work on cases as much as possible with the pandemic. HERE is a PDF copy of the order should you desire to read in its entirety.
This Order has been hugely beneficial in this challenging time. Many cases would have gone through the system, but continue to be pending and not resolved.
What is the main change in the next Order?
It is the goal of the supreme court to resume grand jury proceedings and jury trials. The chief judge of each superior court will convene a committee made of judicial system participants to develop safety guidelines to resume jury trials. This will allow some more pressing trials to go through the system and resolve, opening up more time for other cases to progress forward.
Making changes like this will improve the court system’s ability to hold trials and provide justice to the people of Georgia. It is an interesting time to see how these systems can mold and transform to adapt to the environment around it.
Why can’t this Order last forever?
The Order is effectively acting as a transition between how the courts worked before and after COVID-19. Until a vaccine, or another method of prevention, is developed, the courts will have to adjust to allow for social distancing and safety for participants, all while maintaining the justice system that is in place to ensure a fair trial.
With the change to resume grand jury and jury trials, the roadmap for the future of this Order may contain similar changes over time. A lot of courts have been able to implement more electronic services to compensate for the pandemic, and this may be a sign of the future ahead. Even with the changes to jury trials, there is a large backlog of cases that need to go through the system to catch up. There will probably be backlogs on other types of cases as well until systems are put in place to push them forward in a safe and effective manner. We will continue to monitor this Order, and any other relevant orders to keep up to date.
Here at Fry | Goehring, we are utilizing this time to continue working on your case in an effective way that maximizes your settlement. We continue setting up and attending Video and in-person Depositions, Mediations, and Hearings (in limited jurisdictions). We are also continuing to work on our case as though all the deadlines are still in place to ensure our clients have the best and most rewarding experience possible during these challenging times.