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Federal courts extend restrictions

Federal courts in Virginia are extending their limitations on in-person activities.

In the Eastern District, all time periods that would expire on March 31 or April 17 have been extended through May 1, according to a March 24 order.

The Eastern District hiatus applies to all civil and criminal in-person proceedings including court appearances, trials, hearings and settlement conferences unless a judge orders differently to avoid manifest injustice.

A similar order was entered in the Western District, continuing all in-person criminal, civil and bankruptcy proceedings through May 1, including civil and criminal jury trials.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Virginia is going remote with writ panels scheduled for March 31. Even though all writ arguments will be handled by telephone, the hearings will be open to the public with live streaming audio.

Links to the audio of the proceedings will become live on March 31, at 1:00 pm., the court said in a statement posted online.

Workers’ comp

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has extended its cancellation of in-person commission hearings and mediations through April 30. The hold previously was set to expire March 31.

“The Commission remains open for all other business and therefore there is no change at this time in policy or procedure with regard to timely filing, statutes of limitation, or other statutory or rule based time limitations,” a commission statement said.
“We are working closely with stakeholders to accommodate upcoming hearing and mediation schedules,” the statement said.

Virginia State Bar

The Virginia State Bar has posted a roundup of resources for lawyers during the pandemic. The information is available on the VSB website.

The VSB offices are closed through March 30.

The VSB has dropped its requirement for signatures to support candidates for Bar Council.

Due to COVID-19, the requirement for ten signatures from sponsoring attorneys for Bar Council candidates has been waived for the 2020 elections, the VSB said March 25.  Now, candidates must simply include the sponsors’ names, bar numbers and then initial after the sponsor’s name indicating that the sponsor has sent an email granting that authority to the candidate.

The VSB cautions to save the emails in case anyone challenges the election.

A number of changes have been made to the Bar Council election process due to the pandemic, the VSB said. The circuits having elections, the requirements for interested lawyers and other information may be found here.

April 1 is the deadline for filing a petition to be on Bar Council.

Updated March 25 to add Bar Council election information.