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Emergency Covid-19 rules put in place two years ago to help California courts deal with the operational pitfalls of the pandemic will expire on June 30, as the Judicial Council voted Friday for their repeal at its first in-person business meeting in two years.

According to the report by Courthouse News the eight remaining Covid-19 rules lengthened time limits or filing civil lawsuits and bringing civil cases to trial, prioritized juvenile delinquency and dependency hearings, extended temporary restraining order or gun violence emergency protective orders and allowed defendants to appear remotely at hearings and waive their right to appear in-person at trial.

“The rules were always intended to be temporary,” said Justice Marsha Slough, chair of the council’s Executive and Planning Committee. “We believe it’s time to move past these rules.”

Last Friday, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye decided to rollback four other Covid-19 rules extending deadlines for preliminary criminal hearings from 10 to 30 days, letting courts extend time to bring civil cases to trial by up to 60 days, and giving courts authority to conduct hearings by remote technology and adopt their own local Covid-19 measures. Those rules will now expire on April 30.

The sunset of these court rules does not spell the end of all remote hearings. The legislature passed a law last year to preserve remote access to civil proceedings either by videoconference or phone.

The Judicial Council will also sponsor legislation this year to continue allowing criminal defendants to appear remotely in court.

We do recognize that the use of remote technology became much more widely used during the pandemic and it actually provided a way for people to access the courts they way they never had before,” Slough said. “It served to be a very important response, and we appreciate the fact that remote technology made courts accessible to users. We recognize the importance of continued remote access in all case types. And we want to continue to work towards additional measures to assure there are remote proceedings in all case types.”

The move comes a few weeks after Governor Gavin Newsom lifted some of his emergency executive orders.

Judicial Council administrative director Martin Hoshino said council members should encourage judicial officers and court staff to remember that the rules were temporary and the authority on which they were predicated will expire on June 30.

It remains to be seen if the same trend toward remote technology is embraced by district offices of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.