Town & Village CourtsTown & Village Courts

Overview

Town and Village Courts are collectively known as the Justice Courts. Many New Yorkers will have their first and only court experience in one of the almost 1300 locally-funded Justice Courts located throughout New York State (except for New York City). These courts have jurisdiction over a broad range of matters, including vehicle and traffic matters, small claims, evictions, civil matters and criminal offenses.

Information for the Public: COVID-19 Impacts on the Justice Courts

Effective December 9, 2020: Updated Operational Protocols for Town and Village Justice Courts

For the past several months, the Unified Court System has permitted in-person proceedings in Town and Village courts in accordance with the Governor’s un-PAUSE New York plan.  Foot traffic in the courthouses has been gradually increased to correspond with an improvement in the metrics measuring the spread of the Coronavirus. 

  • Recently, the metrics have indicated the need to once again reduce foot traffic in the courthouses to protect the health and safety of litigants, lawyers, court staff and judges. 
  • It is critical that the Courts immediately decrease in-person proceedings in order to protect the health and safety of all court users, court staff and judges and to further reduce the community spread of the Coronavirus.
  • The new operational protocols are intended to create an environment where the “normal” is a virtual appearance and in-person appearances are rare.

Operational Changes Include:

  • Modified Courthouse Operations-staggering scheduling and calendars, Reduction in Occupancy, Reduction in Court Staffing. Occupancy of all courtrooms shall be limited to the lesser of 10 people or ½ the posted room occupancy per code, exclusive of court staff, whichever is less.

Modification to Court Proceedings:

  • No new prospective trial jurors (criminal or civil) will be summoned for jury service until further notice. Pending criminal and civil jury trials will continue to conclusion. Several court proceedings including evidentiary proceedings will be limited to proceeding only virtually. Most trials in civil and criminal cases will be conducted virtually. Courts will retain some limited discretion for in-person proceedings. Criminal and vehicle and traffic matters will be encouraged to proceed virtually.

The courts are responding to rapidly changing conditions. Please visit this website often for more updates. Please note operational protocols may vary depending on local conditions. More information related to specific courts may be found through the Court System's Coronavirus webpage.

 


Additional resources:

Unified Court System Court Locator -- A searchable directory of name and address and phone number of all of the courts within the New York State Court System.

 

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