The COVID19 crisis has forced California courts—and courts across the country—to a screeching halt. Courthouses shuddered their doors and vacated months’ worth of hearings. In San Diego alone, the court is faced with a backlog of over 48,000 events that need to be rescheduled. And Los Angeles is expected to extend its stay-at-home order through the end of August, which will inevitably impact courts’ efforts to reopen. It’s been made clear that—for the indefinite future—there won’t be any jury trials for civil or probate cases. Criminal, dependency, and family law matters will all take precedence.
As courts reopen, attorneys will be bombarded with one question: what’s the timeline? Nobody knows: courts are cautiously beginning to resume operations, with the understanding that the doors could be closed again if the crisis reignites. Even if it doesn’t, courts don’t have a complete understanding of how long it will take to undo the backlog.