To reduce the risk of infection, some public events are being canceled, postponed or held virtually instead of in person. Alternatively, some in-person proceedings will continue, but with special precautions in place, such as wearing masks or social distancing.
So this brings up the following two questions. One, are bankruptcy courts still handling bankruptcy cases during the coronavirus pandemic? And if so, how are bankruptcy courts holding hearings?
Are Bankruptcy Courts Still Open?
Yes. Even when at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, bankruptcy courts were open for business. However, many courts instituted procedural changes in how they handle cases.
For instance, some courts extended deadlines or waived original signature requirements for documents that were filed electronically with the court. These courts also held hearings virtually, such as with teleconference calls.
How Are Bankruptcy Cases Now Being Handled?
With more and more people getting vaccinated, many courts are removing the above-mentioned temporary COVID-mitigation procedures. As a result, many bankruptcy court processes are returning to the pre-COVID way of doing things. However, individual judges will often have discretion to decide how to hold their hearings.
Therefore, some bankruptcy judges now have the authority to hold in-person court proceedings if they so choose. But if they feel it's best to continue using teleconference or videoconference methods, they may decide to have bankruptcy court proceedings remotely instead.
Even if a bankruptcy judge decides to hold a hearing in person, parties to the case may sometimes have the option to attend virtually if they show good cause.
But for the most up-to-date information concerning how a bankruptcy hearing will be held, individuals should check with official court documents or the applicable court official to determine the specific rules or procedures regarding the hearing.
Still Wondering How the Coronavirus Will Affect Your Bankruptcy?
As if bankruptcy weren't complicated enough without a global pandemic, each bankruptcy court will have its own rules for dealing with the COVID. On top of that, each judge will have some leeway in how they implement those rules. So it's best to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to understand exactly how your bankruptcy proceeding will take place. And if you don't have a bankruptcy attorney yet, it might be wise to consult with one. Our bankruptcy lawyers from Huntsville can help you navigate your way through the bankruptcy process.