By: Hristo Zevlikaris 
On January 7, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the resumption of virtual civil trials under a two-phase approach, beginning with eight counties on February 1, 2021. Virtual jury trials will then be expanded, statewide to all counties starting on April 5, 2021. A complete copy of the Court’s Order can be found here.
During Phase 1, “straightforward” civil trials, involving single parties and a modest number of live witnesses will proceed in Atlantic/Cape May, Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem, Monmouth; Passaic, and Union Counties, with the consent of all parties only. Thereafter, complex trials, lasting more than a few weeks to complete, will be scheduled in all counties. Consent to proceed remotely will not be required during the expanded Phase 2. Phase 2 will continue as necessary and until further ordered.
Jury selection will be conducted in a virtual format and if necessary, electronic devices with broadband access will be provided to jurors. During the pretrial conference, the parties will determine whether to conduct the trial in a “hybrid” or “modified” format where the judge, parties, and witnesses can participate from the courtroom. The first virtual trials will be broadcasted live to the public without showing images of the jurors.
Further details concerning the handling of electronic evidence during these virtual trials can be found here. We will monitor the progress of Phase 1 virtual jury trials and the eventual transition to Phase 2.
Please look for our updates in the coming weeks and months ahead!
 Hristo “Chris” Zevlikaris, Esq. is a Shareholder in GRSLBG&B’s Litigation Department. He defends a wide variety of clients in various civil actions brought forth in New Jersey State and Federal Courts. Chris can be reached at CZevlikaris@grsl.com.