Pursuant to the authority vested in me, I hereby promulgate the following protocols designed to mitigate the adverse effects of the COVID-19 outbreak upon attorneys, parties, other
members of the public, and court staff while conducting civil litigation before the courts of the Unified Court System, effective immediately:
To the fullest extent possible, Mental Hygiene Law proceedings in which a petitioner or other necessary party is confined to a hospital or other medical facility – including but not limited to hearings pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law§§ 9.31 and 9.39 addressing patient retention or release, and the involuntary administration of medication -shall be conducted by means of remote audiovisual technology or telephone or when appropriate and in the discretion of the presiding judge by appearing in courtrooms, in hospitals or in hospital courtrooms. In no event will participants be penalized if compliance with the usual timetables for such proceeding is delayed for reasons relating to the corona virus health emergency.
This order shall be deemed to supersede AO/72/20 and any prior order or directive.