Recommendations for Local Judicial Branch Officials Canceling or Altering Court Sessions
The Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the senior resident superior court judge and the chief district court judge - or their designees - are solely responsible for determining whether or not to alter or cancel the sessions of their respective courts.
In deciding whether or not to alter or cancel court schedules in a county, the senior resident superior court judge and the chief district court judge are encouraged to:
- consult with the clerk of superior court, the district attorney, the public defender, if any, and other local judicial officials;
- consider any actions recommended by local emergency management personnel and determinations made by county officials for the operation of county government; and
- make every effort to make decisions that are consistent and will not result in public confusion and risks to litigants, witnesses, jurors, judges and court employees.
When court schedules have been altered or cancelled, the Assistant Administrative Officer of the Courts should promptly be notified.
Closing Offices and Employee Work Expectations
Each local judicial official is solely responsible for determining whether that official's office is open to the public. Each Judicial Branch employer is solely responsible for determining whether that employer's employees shall report for work.
We encourage local officials and employers to:
- adopt policies that define and distinguish between adverse weather conditions and catastrophic conditions,
- identify when and by whom a determination that one or the other prevails is made, and
- provide for the maximum practical notice to the public and to employees, using all available media.
Before making decisions, local officials and employers in a county are encouraged to consult with each other, with emergency management personnel and with other county and municipal government officials.
When a local court official or employer determines that adverse weather conditions prevail, the following should apply:
- that official determines whether the office will remain open to the public and whether employees who are able to do so should try to report for work; and,
- any employee who believes that it is unsafe to attempt to report for work is not required to do so (the employee must then make up the time or take available leave in accordance with standard make-up and leave policies).
When a local court official determines that catastrophic conditions prevail, the following should apply:
- the official's office is closed to the public;
- non-essential employees should not to report for work;
- the official may designate one or more employees as essential employees who are expected to report for work during catastrophic conditions;
- employees who do not report to work need not make up the time or take available leave; and,
- employees who do report for work will be entitled to compensatory leave time in accordance with standard Judicial Branch comp time policies.
Promptly after adverse weather or catastrophic conditions cease, each local employer shall promptly report all relevant personnel-related information to the AOC Human Resources Division.