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March 19, 2020

MSC Orders Trial Courts to Limit Activity to Essential Functions, Superseding all Local Orders Regarding the Crisis

We wanted to share an important development from the Michigan Supreme Court.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the 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 State Bar will continue to email all members about major developments impacting the legal profession throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We are also sharing regular updates, for those who prefer more information, in the following ways:

Thank you for all that you’re doing to uphold the rule of law during this tumultuous time. Remember, we’re here to support you. Please let us know what more we can do.

State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St.
Lansing, MI 48933-2012