Virtual Bench Trial Guidelines Released by the NY State Unified Court System

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(2 minutes to read)  A few weeks ago, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore released a message on the New York State Unified Court System’s website where she provided recent developments pertaining to the courts and justice system. Judge DiFiore’s announcement provided the legal community with updates on the latest COVID developments and a report on the virtual courts’ productivity. 

More importantly, she shared that the NY State Unified Court System is publicly issuing the “Virtual Bench Trial Protocols and Procedures.” Such guidelines are significant as they can be tailored and used as a tool by the New York Appellate Courts in conducting fair and efficient virtual bench trials.

Justice DiFiore explained that the new Protocols and Procedures educate participants about what to expect during a virtual bench trial. Specifically, these guidelines address key issues such as:

  • Proper decorum,
  • Safeguarding the integrity of the proceedings,
  • Handling and presenting testimony, and
  • Conducting sidebars. 

Judges and lawyers across the state will now have easy access to a source of information that will help them navigate through the “virtual” technicalities that may arise during the proceedings.

The NY State Unified Court System also implemented a separate section within the Protocols and Procedures dedicated to the “Proposed Stipulation and Order.” This proposed stipulation enables the parties to agree on various aspects of the trial before it commences.

In her message, Judge DiFiore emphasized that the court encourages judges, lawyers, and bar associations to adopt these guidelines and distribute them as widely as possible. She stated that the protocols will serve as a valuable resource for the future of the court system. It is apparent that this new development will be crucial as the virtual court system continues to evolve.

These guidelines are easily accessible and can be found on the NY State Unified Court’s website under “Latest News” and “What’s New.”

The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. This information should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this blog without seeking legal or other professional advice.

Catlin Larke

3 Barker Avenue, 2nd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 948-2240

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