Message from the Circuit Court

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March 11, 2021 - Message to the Bar from Circuit Court Regarding Resumption of Phase IV Operations

By virtue of Judge Barbera’s February 16 order, the Circuit Court will move into Phase IV of the state judiciary reopening plan on March 15, 2021. Interested parties are invited to view all applicable orders on the judiciary website at

At that time, the court will return to full staffing, and the clerk’s office will be open to view files, obtain licenses, and perform other services, with limitations. Because of the expected influx of people, the court has devised a system for non-employee, non-litigant courthouse visitors which will begin on March 15, and is described below.

A spreadsheet will be created daily identifying the number of walk-in patrons who can be safely admitted to various offices in the courthouse during each hour throughout the day. When a member of the public or an attorney not involved in a court hearing enters the courthouse, a staff member will inquire as to the department the person wishes to visit. If that department has reached capacity, the person will be instructed to return at the top of the next hour. While appointments are not required, we are strongly encouraging patrons to avail themselves of that opportunity when visiting the licensing and central files departments, which may be very busy at certain times of the day.

The procedures for the filing of emergency motions will remain the same. Such motions must be filed in the dropbox or electronically and the clerk will ensure they are delivered to the duty judge. No files can be walked by the attorney to the judge’s chambers.

The new system does not apply to visitors to the State’s Attorney’s and Register of Wills offices, although those visitors must have previously-confirmed appointments so that the Sheriff knows they are permitted to be in the building. If you are in the courthouse for some other reason such as a hearing, please do not visit another courthouse office without complying with the procedure set forth above. We continue to be concerned for the safety of staff and all visitors, and to that end we want to ensure an orderly and safe flow of persons in the building.

Additionally, the Family Law Self-Help Center will be setting a maximum of 12 in-person appointments per day. Custody evaluations will continue remotely, although child interviews will be scheduled in-person, at an outside location where possible. All intakes, facilitation, co-parenting and mediation in family cases will remain virtual.

The Law Library will remain closed to the public, except for use of conference rooms by Senior Judges. Kids Spot will be open to employees’ children, with virtual learning through June 16, 2021.

Only the Maryland Avenue entrance will be open to the public, with employee access only at the Monroe Street and Terrace entrances. The Maryland Avenue entrance will be open Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., except on Thursdays until 6:30 p.m. All safety precautions, including masking, screening questions, temperature checks and social distancing will remain in effect.

Finally, the use of remote technology to hear cases will continue to be encouraged. In view of the fact that many hearings are now being held remotely, it is not anticipated that the court’s business will change greatly in Phase IV, except for the return to full staffing and opening of the building to members of the public pursuant to the procedures described above.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we hopefully begin the return to a more normal operation. For further information please view our website at

Robert A. Greenberg
Administrative Judge