VT & NH Litigation During COVID-19

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Like most businesses relying on in-person interaction, the coronavirus has also disrupted both the state and federal court systems. In mid-March, courts in New Hampshire and Vermont issued a series of orders declaring a judicial emergency and allowing modifications to steadfast rules such as allowing e-mail filing across the board.  Courts have transitioned to doing hearings remotely as much as possible, and when hearings, trials, or arguments do take place in-person, usually only the participants are allowed to attend.  Court attendees may be required to undergo a temperature screening, must wear masks, and maintain six feet distance from others as much as possible.  

There have been no civil or criminal trials in state courts since the start of the Pandemic in the U.S. in mid-March.  Trials are resuming in New Hampshire, and criminal trials in Vermont are set to start up in September. Still, there will be no state civil jury trials in Vermont until January 2021, a significant factor in the pre-trial practice of Vermont litigators. Parties and their counsel are likely to consider the significant delay in obtaining relief through a jury trial in their approaches to settlement negotiations and mediations.

Litigation is still moving forward with motion practice, discovery, and mediations. Mediations and depositions transitioned immediately to video-conferencing platforms.  Mediators can set up virtual “rooms” for each party, and then the mediator can move between the rooms.  Court reporters attend video depositions and can provide official transcripts.  Video and telephone hearings also occur regularly.  Our litigation attorneys have stayed very busy this spring and summer filing motions for summary judgment, taking or defending depositions on Zoom or Webex, attending mediations via Zoom or telephone, and attending remote hearings.   

Things to keep in mind 

The advancement of digital communications tools has allowed law firms and many other businesses to maintain essential business functions despite the pandemic; however, there are a few things you should keep in mind throughout the litigation process.

  1. Internet connection for video mediations, depositions, and meetings. For many of us, our high-speed internet connection is not what it once was due to the number of people and devices using the internet at the same time within households. Keep in mind that you may need to upgrade your internet speed with your provider or consider shutting down some of the devices in your home while participating in a virtual meeting. 
  2. Original notarized affidavits are required. Although courts briefly allowed the use of e-signatures on affidavits, courts quickly returned to requiring the original signed, notarized affidavit be mailed to the court. Yet, notaries may still be harder to find for some clients.
  3. Significant delays in civil trials. Parties and their counsel are likely to consider the significant delay in obtaining relief through a jury trial in their approaches to settlement negotiations and mediations.

State and Federal Court Update | Vermont & New Hampshire

Our attorneys remain fully committed to advancing cases for their clients. For more information about litigation during the pandemic please reference our business recovery and COVID-19 resources


VT Superior

VT Supreme

VT Federal

NH Superior

NH Supreme

NH Federal


Use eCabinet or Oddysset in divisions where already in use, may file by email in other divisions, no deadline extensions

Filing by email. Appellate briefs and printed cases may also be filed by email to separate address.

E-Filing through CM/ECF system already in use pre-pandemic

E-filing.  In non e-filed cases, pleadings can be submitted via email to SuperiorEFC@courts.state.nh.us.  All courts also accept hand-delivered pleadings through drop boxes located immediately inside the entrances of each court.


e-filing via PACER

Statutes of Limitation

No extensions

No extensions

Existing pre-trial order remains in effect unless parties request extension

No extensions


No extensions

Hearings / Bench Trials

Remote, audio or video

Oral arguments remote by phone or video

Civil motion hearings and bankruptcy hearings remote audio or video, criminal hearings remote only with defendant’s consent

Remote, audio, or video

Oral arguments remote by phone or video. In-person resuming early September

Remotely or in-person at the judge’s discretion

Jury Trials

Civil – postponed to Jan. 2021

Criminal – postponed to Sept. 2020


Criminal and Civil will resume after Sept. 1, 2020

Resuming in-person jury trials


Small number of criminal jury trials, others continued.

Courthouse Access

Open to participants of hearings

Participants only.  Livestream available for public.

In-person visits are discouraged but in the event of a hearing the court room is open to the public

Participants only


Participants and identified designated attendees.

Updates regarding the state and federal courts of Vermont and New Hampshire can also be found by visiting the links below: