The Impacts of the Pandemic on State & Local Courts

Remote hearings, legal technology, case backlogs, and access to justice 

During the global pandemic, the US judicial system faced unprecedented challenges, quickly adapting to new health safety requirement and court closures while ensuring that litigants still had access to the court system.

To explore the impacts of the pandemic on the nation’s courts, Thomson Reuters surveyed almost 240 court professionals — judges and chief justices, magistrates, court administrators, attorneys, and clerks of the court — at the state, county, and municipal courts level. This report gathers and distills their responses, offering insight into such topics as:

  • how well courts pivoted to remote hearings and what those hearings meant for access to justice;
  • how the pandemic impacted the court’s backlog of cases;
  • which legal technology solutions are most needed in courts; and
  • what the future of court hearings might look like.

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