Georgia Chief Justice Harold Melton

ATLANTA – The Georgia Supreme Court is loosening restrictions governing certain court proceedings to adjust to the realities of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court declared a state judicial emergency March 14, ordering courts throughout Georgia to remain open to carry out critical functions.

Additional orders issued Tuesday and during the past week amend certain court rules to allow such things as the use of video conferences and telephone conferences in certain proceedings that normally require the physical presence of the judge and the parties to a case. The rules also encourage courts to livestream proceedings via the internet to give the public access.

“The purpose of these orders is to enable all our courts to continue conducting essential court business while protecting citizens, judges, lawyers, and others from unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus,” Chief Justice Harold Melton said.

The high court issued five separate orders approving amendments to rules affecting superior and state courts, probate courts, municipal courts, juvenile courts, and magistrate courts.