Judiciary Puts Policies in Place Due to COVID-19

March 6, 2020, 7:46 AM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:42 PM)
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The Hawai‘i State Judiciary is taking measures to ensure the safety of court users and judiciary personnel from COVID 19.

The judiciary is collaborating with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health and other agencies to ensure their response is timely and appropriate according to the law. They are taking specific steps to address the situation.

“While there are currently no cases in Hawaii, we know there is potential for COVID-19 to affect our court operations,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Our leadership team has been meeting regularly to address immediate concerns and plan for anticipated disruption should the situation in Hawaii change.”

The first step the judiciary is taking is advising individuals in self-quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure, and not cleared by the DOH to resume normal activities, should contact their local courthouse before they are required to report to court for a case, jury duty or any court services.

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Upon verification by the DOH of an individual’s self-monitoring status, the matter may be handled in an alternative manner or postponed by a judge until they are cleared to appear.

The judiciary is also taking steps to reduce the need for inter-island travel by attorneys and self-represented litigants during this time. Those scheduled to appear on a different island than the one on which they live may ask to appear telephonically or by video conference call as permitted by court rules. Requests for telephonic appearances by attorneys or self-represented litigants who would otherwise need to travel inter-island will be liberally granted while the COVID-19 situation is ongoing.

The Judiciary will continue to monitor the effects of COVID-19 on court operations, take any necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our community, and communicate with the public as the situation develops.

Courthouses can be reached by the following numbers below:

First Circuit (O‘ahu): 808-539-4400
Second Circuit (Maui County): 808-244-2929
Third Circuit (Hawai‘i Island): 808-961-7440
Fifth Circuit (Kaua‘i): 808-482-2308

Refer to the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for additional information about the current status of COVID-19 in Hawaii and worldwide, in addition to steps that can be taken to prevent or slow the spread of respiratory illness in our community. Information is available here:

https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019/
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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