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Judiciary Ends COVID Emergency; Study of Broadcast Policy Continues

The COVID-19 emergency is no longer affecting the functioning of the federal courts, the Judicial Conference’s Executive Committee has found, setting in motion a 120-day grace period in which federal courts may continue to provide the same remote public audio access to civil and bankruptcy proceedings as they did during the emergency.

The Executive Committee finding takes effect May 24. The grace period, which ends Sept. 21, relates only to the Judiciary’s temporary broadcasting exception for remote audio public access to civil and bankruptcy proceedings.

Permission to conduct some criminal proceedings by video or teleconference, which had been granted under the 2020 CARES Act, ended May 10. Most courts already had discontinued use of virtual criminal proceedings.

The Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) continues to study possible changes to the Judiciary’s broadcasting policy relating to civil and bankruptcy proceedings, based on data gathered during the pandemic. Courts have been told that the committee may provide a report at the next Judicial Conference session, on Sept. 12.