Atlanta, May 20, 2020 – On Thursday, May 21, 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia will issue orders designed to keep the Court operating to the fullest extent possible during and after the statewide judicial emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court takes this action recognizing that most of the deadlines imposed by the Court’s rules pertain to the e-filing of written documents rather than proceedings requiring in-person contact.

“We have cases that are ready to move,” Chief Justice Harold D. Melton said. “We have the capacity to move them safely. So we will. This is what the latest extension of the declaration is trying to accomplish across the state.”

First, on May 21, the Court will enter a specific order in almost every pending case to reinstate all deadlines under the Court’s rules that were “tolled” or suspended by the Chief Justice’s March 14 order declaring a statewide judicial emergency, as extended on April 6 and May 11. These new orders do not revoke the extension of deadlines for initially filing new proceedings in the Court, including appeals, but only affect proceedings filed prior to May 28.

Effective May 28, parties in pending cases will have the same amount of time to submit their filings as they had remaining at the time the March 14 emergency order went into effect. Parties will be required to submit a “Certificate of Timeliness” with each filing to show the calculation of the new filing deadline. Parties may file a motion for reconsideration or seek extensions of time for good cause related to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise. A sample “pending case” order may be found here. A template Certificate of Timeliness and illustrations of time calculations may be found here.

Second, a specific order will be issued in almost all new cases docketed in the Court on or after May 28, 2020, directing that the normal deadlines under the Court’s rules will be in effect and will not be subject to tolling or extension under the emergency order, although parties may seek extensions of time for good cause related to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise. A sample “new case order” may be found here.

Additionally, the Court will amend its rules on May 21 to add a temporary new Rule 11.1 (Filings Affected by Judicial Emergency Orders), effective May 28, to allow the Court to determine that new proceedings have been timely filed. The rule will require parties to attach a Certificate of Timeliness to filings affected by any statewide or local circuit judicial emergency order, showing the calculation of the new filing deadline. This rule will expire in 180 days unless extended. The new Rule 11.1 may be found here.

Questions about these orders and Rule 11.1 may be directed to the Clerk’s office at 404-656-3470.