Earlier in June 2020, the Delaware Court of Chancery has issued its Courtroom Protocols, that are being implemented, effective June 8, 2020, in conjunction with the reopening of the courthouses.  A high-level summary of the new practices and procedures are set forth below:

  • All attorneys and members of the public will be screened upon entering a State courthouse in accordance with the protocols set forth in the Reopening Plan.
  • The Reopening Plan requires 6 feet of social distance from all other individuals (other than someone from your household) throughout the
    courthouse and in courtrooms.
  • Video streaming of hearings and trials via a YouTube channel will be available in courtrooms A and B in New Castle County and the main courtroom in Sussex County.
  • Any member of the press who wishes to attend a hearing or trial in-person is requested to file a letter so advising the court at least five business days before the proceeding.
  • All participants, including non-litigants, are required to wear a face covering or a mask while in the courtroom.
  • A staff member will monitor the hallway outside the courtroom and will direct participants to their seats to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Markings have been placed in the courtrooms identifying where participants may sit consistent with social distancing requirements.
  • Tabletop podiums and microphones will be installed at each of the two counsel tables at the front of the courtroom.
  • The ELMO projector and the center podium in the courtroom will not be available for use.
  • Counsel should make every effort to plan their presentations to avoid the need to approach the bench or the witness stand.
  • Counsel must deliver copies of demonstratives to chambers and opposing counsel at least one day before a courtroom appearance.
  • Counsel may bring their phones into the courtroom but they must be turned off (and not just silenced) during a courtroom proceeding.
  • The courtroom will be cleaned after each hearing or trial day.

Out of state attorneys should consult with their Delaware counsel to ensure proper compliance with the above protocols.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Pierson Ferdinand LLP, and practices in Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 482-4244 or at carl.neff@pierferd.com.