COVID-19 UPDATE: New Hampshire Courts Remain Open on a Restricted Basis

The New Hampshire Supreme Court has issued three additional orders (one each for the Circuit, Superior, and Supreme Courts) that restrict public access to courthouses and that renew and amend the March 16, 2020 order suspending in-person court proceedings.

Under the new orders, all New Hampshire Judicial Branch courts are open on a restricted basis, but courthouses and/or clerk’s offices are closed to the general public. Courthouses and/or clerk’s offices are open only to individuals who are filing for emergency relief or who are scheduled for in-person court proceedings.

The orders include several exceptions, including, but not limited to:

  • Proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants, including bail-related matters, trials and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals.
  • Requests for orders of protection for domestic violence under
  • RSA 173-B, stalking under RSA 633:3-a and juvenile abuse under
  • RSA 169-C:7-a, and hearings on such orders.
  • Requests for child-related emergency orders in divorce/parenting cases under RSA 461-A and hearings on any emergency relief ordered.
  • Temporary hearings in divorce/parenting cases.
  • Hearings on the establishment or modification of child support.
  • Division for Children, Youth and Families’ requests for emergency orders and hearings on such orders, as well as other hearings in RSA 169-C cases if children are in out-of-home placement.
  • Requests for detention or placement of a juvenile under RSA 169-B and all hearings in RSA 169-B cases for juveniles who are detained or in an out-of-home placement.
  • Requests for placement of a juvenile under RSA 169-D and all hearings in RSA 169-D cases in which the juvenile is in an out-of-home placement.
  • Proceedings related to petitions for temporary emergency injunctive relief.
  • Proceedings related to emergency mental health orders, including Involuntary Emergency Admission and Involuntary Admission (probate commitment) proceedings under RSA 135-C.
  • Requests for emergency orders in minor guardianship cases under
  • RSA 463 or guardianship over incapacitated persons under RSA 464-A, and hearings on such orders.
  • Requests for emergency relief under RSA 540-A in landlord/tenant matters and hearings on such orders.
  • Proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Proceedings related to petitions for temporary emergency injunctive relief.
  • Proceedings necessary to protect the public on an interim or emergency basis from a substantial threat of serious harm posed by the conduct of an attorney or judge.
  • Proceedings related to petitions for temporary emergency relief.
  • Other exceptions may also be approved by the courts.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts may conduct proceedings, including many of the above exceptions, telephonically to the extent possible.

Among other things, this means that, from now until May 4, 2020 and/or the last day of the Governor’s Declared State of Emergency, members of the public will not have access to view files or make copies at the courthouses.

If you have questions about whether you should go to a courthouse, the orders encourage you to call 855-212-1234.  The orders can be found here:

Further information and the Court’s prior orders in response to COVID-19 can be found on the Judicial Branch website:

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