News & Press: Announcements

Supreme Court of Missouri Operation Modifications

Friday, July 24, 2020  
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The Supreme Court of Missouri today issued an order modifying its operational directives to further guide courts statewide in establishing local precautionary measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring they remain open to conduct business as necessary to carry out their core, constitutional functions. Today’s order (online at https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=162873), effective August 1, adds to the operational directives originally issued in May. 
Under the modified operational directives (online at https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=162874):
  • An operating phase shall apply uniformly to each local court facility in which judicial functions are performed.
  • The terms and conditions of a local court’s operating phase may be made more stringent, but not less stringent, than provided in the statewide operating directives.
  • If any court employee, bailiff or other court personnel working in a court facility tests positive for COVID-19, the local court must move that facility back to Operating Phase Zero or One.
  • As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, face masks or coverings shall be required: In all public court areas and during all court proceedings unless good cause is shown to limit the requirement in a particular proceeding, such as for a witness who is testifying; and except when an individual is alone in a private office.

Additionally, today’s modified operational directives require local courts
to make efforts to communicate precautions being taken and other
COVID-19-related developments to attorneys through The Missouri Bar.

As has been the case since May, under the modified operational directives,
activities in all appellate and circuit courts – including all associate,
family, juvenile, municipal and probate divisions – will continue to be
restricted in some respect, and courts are encouraged to use all available
technologies to conduct activities remotely to limit the number of
in-person proceedings conducted in courthouses. The operational directives
provide uniform “gateway criteria” for Missouri courts to begin resuming
court activities gradually – as local conditions permit – making paramount
the health and welfare of litigants, witnesses, victims, jurors, attorneys,
judicial employees and other individuals involved in judicial proceedings
in determining whether a courthouse is ready to progress through four
defined operating phases.