News & Press: Announcements

Operations Notice from the Court of Appeals, Southern District

Wednesday, May 6, 2020  
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Message from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District

On May 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an order and “Operational Directives” guiding our return to normal court operations.  The order sets forth four Operational Phases, numbered zero to three. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, is currently in “Operating Phase Zero” and each successive phase moves us closer to normal court operations.

Each of the phases have both a general and specific description of court activities that may be conducted.  There are limitations as to case types, number of persons in the courtrooms, number of persons in common areas, distancing requirements, etc.  Each phase must last a minimum of 14 days.

Our court may only move from one phase to the next by complying with certain Gateway Criteria.  Many of those criteria are specific to our community with regard to number of COVID-19 cases, available medical facilities, COVID-19 statistics in relation to population density, and city/county stay-at-home orders. The chief judge must certify to the supreme court compliance with the criteria before the Southern District can progress from one phase to the next.

If all goes as planned and hoped, and the community continues to show improvement and recovery, the Southern District expects to certify compliance with the criteria and move from Phase Zero to Phase One on May 16, 2020. Thereafter, our court will move through the phases as quickly as possible, consistent with local conditions and the genuine desire for the court to be a safe place for employees, lawyers, parties, and the public.  If it should come to pass that community conditions deteriorate in the future, our court may be called upon to move back a phase.  We certainly hope that does not occur.  You may expect that we will keep the bar informed of these transitions as promptly as possible, but at this time we wanted to make you generally aware that there is a plan and procedure in place.

The judges of the Southern District have very much appreciated the universal cooperation and patience of persons with business before the court.  We look forward to that continuing as we move ahead.