INFORMATION REGARDING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND COURT OPERATIONS

Updated January 29,2021

 

OPERATIONS UPDATE - WITH THE LIFTING OF THE SHELTER IN PLACE ORDER BY THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO AND THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, ALL. COURT CLERK'S OFFICES REOPENED ON FEB. 1. 2021 BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:30 A.M. AND 12:30 P.M. CUSTOMERS CAN STILL UTILIZE DROP BOXES LOCATED IN COURTHOUSE LOBBYS AS AN ALTERNATIVE. FOR CHANGES TO OTHER DIVISION OFFICES, (CRIMINAL, CIVIL, FAMILY LAW AND OTHER DIVISIONS, GO TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL PAGES.

All other changes to operations are reflected in the Presiding Judge's General Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Order of the Presiding Judge (April 30, 2020)

General Order of the Presiding Judge (April 13, 2020)

General Order of the Presiding Judge (April 1, 2020)

General Order of the Presiding Judge (March 24, 2020)

General Order of the Presiding Judge (March 19, 2020)

General Order of the Presiding Judge (March 16, 2020)

All orders of the Presiding Judge are authorized by emergency orders or a statewide order by the Chief Justice of California and Chair of the Judicial Council.

Emergency Order of the Chief Justice (May 27, 2020)

Statewide Order of the Chief Justice (April 29, 2020)

Emergency Order of the Chief Justice (April 10, 2020)

Statewide Order of the Chief Justice (March 30, 2020)

Statewide Order of the Chief Justice (March 23, 2020)

Emergency Order of the Chief Justice (March 19, 2020)

Emergency Order of the Chief Justice (March 16, 2020)

The Judicial Council has approved 13 emergency rules due to the immediate and ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  These 13 emergency rules have been added as Appendix I of the California Rules of Court.

Appendix I of the California Rules of Court

 

Information about services in specific court divisions:

PUBLIC NOTICE

 

COURT TO RESTORE SERVICES FEBRUARY 1, 2021

 

         The San Francisco Superior Court is REOPENING the Clerk’s Offices effective February 1, now that the City and County of San Francisco and Department of Public Health have lifted its Shelter in Place order.

However, even with the resumption of many court services, health and safety guidelines remain our top priority. Those guidelines apply to our employees and the public and will impact staffing levels and operations. Please note that the following rules apply to everyone coming to any of our courthouses.

  • You must wear a mask or face covering to enter any court facility and during all times you remain inside a courthouse. The court will not provide masks or face coverings.
  • If you are sick, please do not come to court. No one who is sick or is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be permitted to enter any court facility.
  • Please expect longer lines and wait times. The court will follow social distancing requirements inside and outside our facilities and some building access will be limited.
  • Please note and adhere to the posted signs regarding social distancing, face coverings and health and safety guidelines. Please wash your hands frequently. Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the courthouses.

The court encourages you to visit our website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org to see what services are available before you visit any of our facilities.

CIVIL COURT

CIVIL, SMALL CLAIMS, PROBATE AND RECORDS CLERK’S OFFICE HOURS

The Civil Clerk’s Office, Room 103, Civic Center Courthouse, will re-open to walk-in service on Monday, February 1, 2021. Office hours are Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Phone service will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Court’s main contact number is 415-551-4000.

The drop boxes remain available in the Civic Center Courthouse lobby for Civil, Small Claims Probate and the Records Divisions Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is highly recommended that court customers access the SFSC Court’s website online services (case query and case calendar) to see the latest filings and calendar changes before coming to court.

Courtrooms and court proceedings vary by department. To see the latest calendar updates and/or changes in an existing case, please access the court’s website online services tab at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org.

Law and Motion

The moving party should confer with all other parties before scheduling and noticing a hearing, then may e-file and notice the hearing in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 or other applicable requirements.  The moving party need not obtain a hearing date or reservation number before filing the motion.

For all law and motion matters, the court will post tentative rulings and follow the procedures set forth in San Francisco County Superior Court Local Rule 8.3 et seq. All hearings will be conducted remotely by CourtCall or by videoconference.  No in-person appearances will be permitted.

Ex parte hearings in law and motion matters are held daily at 11:00 a.m. by CourtCall. No later than two (2) hours prior to the hearing, the moving party must efile the moving papers and attach them to an email to the opposing party/counsel addressed to [email protected] with the subject line, “Ex Parte Application.”

A party presenting an ex parte application in the law and motion department for a temporary restraining order, alternative writ, appointment of a receiver, or similar matter must schedule the hearing with the court by sending an email to [email protected] at least 24 hours in advance of the proposed hearing date.

Hearings are conducted via Zoom Videoconferencing, please see the Law and Motion webpage for further information.

Discovery Department

Any party who wishes to have a discovery motion heard, must confer with all other parties before scheduling and noticing the hearing.  The moving party shall file a notice of motion setting the matter for hearing in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 or other applicable requirements.

The parties need not deliver courtesy copies of their filed discovery motion papers to Department 302. After filing the papers, they should attach copies to an email addressed to [email protected]. The subject line of the email should state the case name and number and the date of the hearing. The text of the email should include the name and contact information, including the email address of the attorney or party who will appear at the hearing.

Hearings are conducted via Zoom Videoconferencing, please see the Law and Motion webpage for further information.

Complex Litigation

The Complex Litigation Departments will continue scheduling telephonic conferences. Please continue to file opposition and reply briefs on the previously agreed upon schedule. If counsel need a continuance on their briefing deadlines, they shall meet and confer to adjust any briefing schedules, and then email the court on their agreed upon deadlines. Counsel should continue to meet and confer to prepare the statement and file these statements on the day their hearing would have occurred. Based on the filed statements, the court will set further dates.

Records

The Records Public Viewing Room is closed. Records requests may be mailed or dropped off in the Court’s Dropbox located in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. There are no pick-up options for records requests. All records requests must have a self-addressed stamped envelope for returned paperwork. The Records Request Form is located on the Court’s website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org.

Restraining Orders

The Court continues to accept applications for civil harassment restraining orders. The Court Clerk’s office is closed, but there is a drop box in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. Within 24 hours of filing the request for a Temporary Restraining Order, the petitioner will receive a call to pick up the documents.

Civil Filings Office, including Probate Filings

The Civil Filings Office is closed until further notice. Filers are encouraged to electronically file, mail in their filings or use the drop boxes located in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. There are no document pick-up boxes. The filer must include copies and a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive returned filings.

Civil Courtroom Hearings and Proceedings

Where possible, courtroom proceedings will proceed via CourtCall or by another videoconferencing application.  Please check the Court’s website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org for the most recent updates regarding court operations. In addition, please use the Court website’s Online Services to access the most recent updates in your case.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

At this time settlement conferences and judicial mediations are being conducted remotely by telephone or videoconference, unless notified otherwise by the court. Questions about an existing settlement session should be directed to the settlement judge/settlement officer. This applies to all general civil case. Probate, Family, Unlawful Detainer, Asbestos, CEQA and Complex cases should refer to the procedures of the department/judge presiding over that case. More information about specific alternative dispute resolution programs follows:

Judicial Mediation Program: The Judicial Mediation Program continues to operate, based on settlement judge availability and court capacity to administer the program. Mediations will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice. See the ADR page on the court’s website for more information about the program and the procedure for requesting a mediation: https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/civil/dispute-resolution.

General Civil Cases (not including Unlawful Detainers): Mandatory settlement conferences (MSCs) conducted by volunteer settlement conference officers will continue to be scheduled in advance of the trial date as long as the Court maintains capacity to administer the program. The Court will attempt to schedule MSCs in as many cases as possible but does not have the capacity to set MSCs in all cases. MSCs will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice. See Local Rule 5.0 for more information about MSCs.

General Civil Cases: The Voluntary Settlement Conference (VSC) program will continue to operate. The Court has civil trial judges available to conduct remote settlement conferences. If parties are interested in a VSC, counsel (and self-represented litigants) should confer with their clients and with each other and if all parties agree to participate in a remote VSC they should contact ADR Administrator Elizabeth Kelber at [email protected] or, if the trial date is quickly approaching, they should be prepared to advise the Presiding Judge at trial call of their interest in a VSC. Only cases where all parties agree will be considered. Inclusion in the program is based on judge availability. VSCs will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice.

 PROBATE COURT

The Probate Division is continuing its operations with appropriate modifications. 

For the most current information on Probate Division proceedings, including information on remote appearances, please see the most recent General Order of the Probate and Mental health Division, which is available on the court’s website at https://sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/probate.

 

UNIFIED FAMILY COURT

Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday, (except on Holidays) from 8:30 am to 12:30pm, pending further notice.

Drop Boxes for Unified Family Court are placed at CCC lobby and JJC room 101, which can be accessed and utilized Monday through Friday (except on Holidays) from 8:30am to 4pm, to avoid waiting in line.

The UFC clerks’ offices are located at:
• Unified Family Court Clerk’s Office (includes Family Law, Juvenile Dependency and Child Support filings), 400 McAllister Street, Room 402.
• Juvenile Justice Center Clerk’s Office, 375 Woodside Avenue, Room 101.


OPEN COURTROOMS

(For Calendar types and times, check court’s website to contact the Departments)
Civic Center Courthouse (CCC):
• Department 403 Monday through Friday.
• Department 404 Monday through Friday.
• Department 405 Monday through Friday.
• Department 406 Monday through Friday.
• Department 414 Friday only.
• Department 416 Monday through Friday by telephonic appearances ONLY.
• Department 425 Monday through Friday.
Juvenile Justice Center (JJC):
• Department 3 – Juvenile Delinquency, Monday through Friday.
• Department 4 – Juvenile Delinquency, Monday through Friday
• Department 5 – Juvenile Traffic (Once a month)


FAMILY COURT SERVICES


Mediations will continue to be conducted remotely. Please call 415-238-3623 to schedule a mediation. Also, instructions for parents re: Mandatory online orientation are posted on the court’s website.

PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT:
• Any member of the public exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms WILL NOT be allowed to enter into the court’s facility. NO EXCEPTIONS.
• Face covering and Six-Foot social distancing are required to be followed and will be enforced at all times throughout the court’s building, to comply with COVID-19 preventive CDC guidelines.
• Longer waiting and lines are to be expected as building access to the public will be limited and monitored.
• Obey all signs, Sheriff’s and Court’s staff directions at all times.
• Your patience and cooperation are greatly needed and appreciated during these difficult times.
 

CRIMINAL COURT

The Criminal Office will re-open to walk-in service on Monday, February 1, 2021.  Office hours are Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Phone service will remain available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is highly recommended that you phone the criminal office as many services are now available over the phone, online or by mail.  Please call (415) 551-0651 and ask to speak to a clerk.  

The drop box remains available outside of room 101 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also see our website for more information.

TRAFFIC

The Traffic Office will re-open to walk-in service on Monday, February 1, 2021.  Traffic Department A will re-open Monday, March 1, 2021.  Office hours are Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Phone service will remain available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   

Many services to resolve your traffic matters are available over the phone, online or by mail. For service regarding your traffic matters, please phone the traffic office at (415) 551-8550 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and ask to speak to a clerk.

The drop box remains available outside of room 145 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

See our website for more information.

Court Collections

The Court Collection Unit will re-open to walk-in service on Monday, February 1, 2021.  Office hours are Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Phone service will remain available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  It is highly recommended that you phone the Court Collections Unit as many services are now available over the phone, online or by mail.   Please call (415) 551-0670 and ask to speak to a clerk.

To make a payment on delinquent court-ordered debt, contact AllianceOne on the internet or phone them at (877) 541-8420.

The drop box remains available outside of room 101 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

JURY SERVICE

Our Court is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment, and will take all steps necessary to adhere to all public safety and social distancing guidelines.  Social distancing guidelines will be followed and a smaller number of prospective jurors will be instructed to report on any given day. Those prospective jurors who are not feeling well or who have COVID-19 symptoms, must stay home and should contact the Jury Services Office at (415) 551-3608 for further reporting instructions. Face masks are required to enter the Courthouse and shall be worn at all times when reporting for jury service in person. The Sheriff’s Department will monitor the security lines and the Jury Assembly Room to ensure that all prospective jurors are engaging in social distancing. The Court will provide a clean and sanitized Jury Assembly Room, as well as all courtrooms to be used for trials. The Court will work in conjunction with the San Francisco Department of Health to ensure the safety of all prospective jurors. 

Jury Office staff is available by telephone only.  Please call (415) 551-3608 for inquiries regarding your jury service, or visit the Court’s website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org for your Jury Duty Reporting Instructions.  Phone hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Thank you for your service.

 

ACCESS CENTER

Self-represented litigants may visit the ACCESS CENTER webpage at https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/self-help for information and assistance via online chat, telephone helpline, online survey inquiries, and for legal informational material in the self-help FAQs library. These services are currently available and do not require a visit to the courthouse.

All other substantive and procedural information and assistance will be provided remotely by telephone and online inquiries only.

There are no onsite services available.