The California Supreme Court announced Monday it is modifying its procedures for oral argument hearings in light of the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The court's seven justices will continue to convene in person to hold hearings approximately one week per month, but lawyers arguing their cases must now appear remotely by video, telephone conference or other electronic means.
All oral argument sessions will be held in the court's San Francisco courtroom at the State Building. The court is headquartered in San Francisco, but usually rotates its weeks of hearings among San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
The court sessions will continue to be open to the public, but seating will be strictly limited to keep appropriate distances. The hearings are also live-streamed at courts.ca.gov.
The court's order amending the procedures was signed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and the six other justices. The changes will remain in place "until it is determined to be prudent to resume normal procedures," the order said.
The panel normally holds hearings on pending appeals for one week each month for 10 months from September through June. The next oral argument calendar is due to begin April 6. The court has 90 days to issue a written ruling after hearing arguments in a case.