Traditionally, almost all court hearings were conducted in courtrooms with participants being physically present. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts had to adapt and remote hearings was an answer to keep the courts operating. Remote hearings involve some or all of the participants logging into an online platform where the case is conducted as it would physically in a courtroom.
The use of technology for court appearances will continue, especially after the COVID-19 crisis. In June 2021, the Arizona Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Continuity of Court Operations During a Public Health Emergency Workgroup (Plan B Workgroup) recommended best practices that should be retained or adapted post-pandemic, which included a recommendation that courts continue to use and expand technology to conduct remote court proceedings. It reconvened in January 2022 to develop and make additional recommendations regarding the use of remote hearings post-pandemic. On February 22, 2022, the Plan B Workgroup issued a report, Recommended Remote and In-Person Hearings in Arizona State Courts in the Post-Pandemic World (“Report”).
On March 24, 2022, the Arizona Judicial Council approved adoption of the Report, which includes as Appendix 1 the Plan B Workgroup’s recommendations about which hearing types should be held remotely and which should be held in-person.
On April 27, 2022, the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2022-46 adopting the presumptive standards as set forth in Appendix 1 of the Report.