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West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland RulesEffective: April 1, 2023

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 16. Court Administration
Chapter 1000. Emergency Powers of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Effective: April 1, 2023
MD Rules, Rule 16-1003
(a) Generally. Upon a determination by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that an emergency declared by the Governor or an event within the scope of Rule 16-1001 (b) significantly affects access to or the operations of one or more courts or other judicial facilities of the State or the ability of the Maryland Judiciary to operate effectively, the Chief Justice, by Administrative Order, may, to the extent necessary:
(1) amend and superintend the implementation of continuity of operations plans adopted pursuant to Rule 16-803;
(2) suspend the operation of Rules that cannot be implemented as intended because of the emergency or event;
(3) identify and direct the use of alternative locations to conduct judicial business in the event that one or more existing locations become inaccessible or otherwise unusable for that purpose;
Committee note: The intent of this subsection is to permit courts or other judicial agencies to operate in facilities not otherwise designated as courthouses and to permit a circuit court to operate as such in a District Court or appellate court facility, and vice versa.
(4) transfer cases pending in a court that becomes inaccessible or otherwise unusable to any other court having subject matter jurisdiction over the case;
(5) permit cases to be filed in any court having subject matter jurisdiction where no court with venue is reasonably accessible or otherwise usable, subject to transfer, on motion of a party or on the court's own initiative, when the emergency ends;
(6) permit pleadings and papers to be filed and proceedings to be conducted in the manner set forth in Rule 15-1104 (d);
(7) suspend, toll, extend, or otherwise grant relief from time deadlines, requirements, or expirations otherwise imposed by applicable statutes, Rules, or court orders, including deadlines for appeals or other filings, deadlines for filing or conducting judicial proceedings, and the expiration of injunctive, restraining, protective, or other orders that otherwise would expire, where there is no practical ability of a party subject to such deadline, requirement, or expiration to comply with the deadline or requirement or seek other relief;
Committee note: Granting relief from filing deadlines may take the form of directing relation back of filings made promptly after termination of the emergency to the day before the deadline expired.
(8) suspend any judicial business that is deemed not essential by the Chief Justice or close a court entirely when necessary;
(9) triage cases and categories of cases with respect to expedited treatment;
(10) designate and authorize other judges or judicial officials or employees to implement directives issued under this Rule or directives issued by the Governor upon an emergency declared by the Governor;
(11) to the extent necessary to fulfill Constitutional mandates, require that certain courts and judicial facilities remain operational to the extent possible during a state of emergency and resume operations upon termination of a state of emergency;
(12) authorize administrative judges or security personnel to preclude or control entry into courthouses or other judicial facilities by persons who pose a credible threat to the health or safety of members of the public or judicial personnel who are in the courthouse or other facility;
(13) use any means of communication likely to be effective; and
(14) take any other appropriate action necessary to ensure that, to the maximum extent possible, essential judicial business is effectively handled by the courts.
(b) Duration; Compatibility with Governor's Directives. The authority granted in section (a) of this Rule may be implemented only as necessary during the emergency or its immediate aftermath and, if exercised following an emergency declared by the Governor, shall, to the extent practicable, be compatible with directives and orders issued by the Governor. Promptly upon termination of the emergency, the Chief Justice shall review all directives issued pursuant to this Rule and determine a reasonable schedule for the rescission of those directives.
Committee note: Termination of the emergency does not mean that all courts will immediately be back in full operation, and even to the extent they are, they will be immediately faced with having to deal with the cases backlogged during the emergency plus new filings. Some time deadlines that were extended and some triaging may need to remain in place for a reasonable time.
(c) Inability of Chief Justice. During any period in which the Chief Justice is unable to exercise the authority granted in section (a) of this Rule, that authority may be exercised by the justice on the Supreme Court most senior in length of service on that Court, unless the Chief Justice has designated another justice of the Court to exercise that authority or the Governor has designated another justice of the Court to serve as Acting Chief Justice during that period.
(d) Notice and Posting of Directives. To the extent practicable, a copy of all directives and orders issued under section (a) following a declaration of emergency by the Governor, shall be sent to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the Director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, and, in a catastrophic health emergency, the Secretary of Health, and shall be posted on the Judiciary website. Notices may be sent electronically.
Source: This Rule is new.


[Adopted eff. March 16, 2020. Amended April 21, 2023, eff. nunc pro tunc April 1, 2023.]
MD Rules, Rule 16-1003, MD R CTS J AND ATTYS Rule 16-1003
Current with amendments received through May 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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