MSC Orders Trial Courts to Limit Activity to Essential Functions

March 19, 2020

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the state’s trial courts to “limit access to courtrooms and other spaces to no more than 10 persons, including staff, and to practice social distancing and limit court activity to only essential functions.”

“All trial courts must take immediate action to protect the public and court personnel by limiting activity only to essential functions,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “The Supreme Court speaks with one, decisive voice: Courts must respond so that the policy is uniform all across Michigan.”

Essential court functions outlined in the Court’s administrative order include:

  • Arraignments for in-custody defendants
  • Review and determination of requests for search warrants and personal protection orders
  • Certain child protective proceedings
  • Critical issues regarding child support and child custody

The order also provides courts with additional flexibility to conduct business using technology such as video and phone conferencing.

The order follows one from March 15 authorizing trial courts to take emergency measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Related: Updates from the Judicial Branch

Related: Resources for Attorneys & FAQ About Coronavirus