SCAO: Michigan Courts Expected to Continue Remote Proceedings

State Court Administrator Tom Boyd has reminded Michigan’s legal community that even as the state continues to gradually reopen throughout the pandemic, courts are expected to continue using remote proceedings as much as possible.

In a Sept. 1 memo to Michigan judges, court administrators, and probate registers, Boyd emphasized that “a judge may not refuse a reasonable request to appear by Zoom for most proceedings” and noted that courts need a clear rationale for denying a request to appear remotely, adding that such denials are subject to appellate review.

Boyd acknowledged that certain court functions are difficult to conduct remotely and added that in those instances, judges are encouraged to work with the parties to establish clear guidelines for proceeding.

Boyd estimates that over the past five months, nearly 1,000 judges and quasi-judicial officers have presided over more than 800,000 hours of remote hearings in the state and the feedback from the legal community and public regarding the proceedings has been overwhelmingly positive.

The SCAO guidelines for courts’ return to full capacity can be found here.