The DC Courts have remained open and operational throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing access to justice while continually prioritizing your health and safety as we have reimagined how we can better serve the public.
Like you, we have learned valuable lessons along the way. With a dedicated and committed court staff, we have expanded many resources - including virtual court proceedings.
We understand that not all court users have the resources to connect with us online and have established remote hearing sites in all quadrants of the city and in court buildings for those without computer or internet access. Working with greater efficiency to ensure a better court experience for you is how we reimagined the DC Courts.
Our success has come by leveraging technology in many aspects of our work. We have developed many innovations to increase our ability to perform essential Constitutional functions such as adjudicating disputes and protecting the rights and liberties of litigants. Our ability to conduct virtual and hybrid hearings was essential to addressing all cases brought before the Courts.
The ingenuity arising from our response to the pandemic demonstrates the benefit of technology to conduct a variety of court proceedings remotely, while maintaining some traditional in-person court appearances. This combined approach allows us to increase court appearances by participants, more efficiently dispose of cases, and increase access to justice for you.
We remain committed to providing justice for all in a fair and more accessible way, and we embrace many of the innovations developed during these challenging times. Although many of the changes are reflected in this Reimagining Plan, we anticipate future policy, practice, and rule modifications to affect this plan, and we will continue to seek innovations to better serve you.
As we each continue on this bold new path to transform our system to better serve you, we look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that we remain Open to All, Trusted by All, and provide Justice for All.
- Can I still appear in person if my case has been scheduled for a virtual hearing? How do I request that?
A: You may appear in person for a remote hearing. For more information on the process, please visit www.dccourts.gov/hearing-information.
- Can I appear virtually if my case has been scheduled for an in-person hearing? How do I request that?
A: You may appear remotely for an in-person hearing. For more information on the process, please visit www.dccourts.gov/hearing-information.
- Who should I call if I need help with technology to appear virtually?
A: If you are unable to join the remote hearing, contact the court right away. The phone number for the court will be on your hearing notice. If you are experiencing technical issues, you may also contact the Information and Technology Division at 202-879-1928 and select Option 2.
For more information on remote hearings, please visit https://www.dccourts.gov/services/remote-hearing-parties .
- Who should I call if I have questions about my hearing?
A: Please contact the clerk's office for the division handling your case. For a list of divisions and their contact information, please visit https://www.dccourts.gov/superior-court.
- If a hearing is virtual, am I expected to appear by video or by audio?
A: You should make every effort to appear by video. If you can't do so or don't have the appropriate technology, you may appear by audio or visit one of the Courts’ remote hearing sites.
- If I don’t have access to appear by video, is there somewhere I can go where there is technology for me to appear by video?
A: Yes. The court has remote hearing sites where parties or court participants can appear by video. To access a list of remote hearing sites, visit: https://www.dccourts.gov/sites/default/files/Remote-Hearing-Sites-Tip-Sheet-3.pdf.
- For some areas of the court, proceedings will be held in person “unless the judge has authorized virtual participation before the hearing.” How do I know whether the judge has authorized virtual participation or changed the hearing to a virtual hearing?
A: The court will notify you by mail or electronically if your hearing will be held virtually. If the court says you need to appear remotely, then the notice will contain instructions on how to join the hearing by audio or video conference.
- The Reimagining Plan says that some hearings are to be held virtually by default, while others are in-person by default depending on the type of hearing it is (i.e., status, scheduling, initial, pre-trial). How do I know what type of hearing I am scheduled for?
A: Parties and court participants should consult the appropriate division’s Reimagining Plan for specifics on which hearing types will be set to in person, remote or virtually offsite. The court will also provide a notice stating the type of hearing and the method of appearance that is required before the hearing.
- Which self-help centers are open in-person? Can I access these virtually if I prefer?
A: There are several resources available for individuals and self-represented litigants at the DC Courts. To learn more about self-help centers, legal clinics, and resource centers and their operating status, please visit https://www.dccourts.gov/services/represent-yourself .