Civil trials during the pandemic

During the COVID-19 crisis, we have received a number of phone calls from clients or potential clients about civil matters. Right now, every jurisdiction is working to accommodate as much civil litigation as it can while heavily limiting in person hearings. Many jurisdictions are allowing for electronic submissions and have put procedures in place for parties to request for hearings via phone or video conference (using WebEx). 

For example, the Supreme Court of Virginia has been working with District and Circuit Courts to set up trials that can be conducted in a manner that ensures everyone’s safety using WebEx. The current policy for Henrico County’s General District Court is as follows:

“7.  All civil motions of an emergency nature, such as garnishment exemptions and motions to quash evictions, will be heard in the courtroom and all participants and attorneys will be liberally granted the opportunity to participate by telephone, if arranged in advance and all necessary paperwork for a ruling on the motion has been filed.

8.  The Court has the ability to hear civil trials by Webex.  Upon the request of all parties, after they have agreed:

a)       To have the trial conducted by Webex;

b)      Confirmed that all parties have access to Webex;

c)       Determined the number of witnesses, how and where all parties, attorneys and witnesses will participate by Webex; and

d)      The approximate time required for trial, the presiding judge will consider whether the necessity of conducting the trial at the time requested outweighs the risk to all participants.  If the judge agrees to hear the case by Webex, all parties will be notified and required to participate in a very brief test of their Webex accessibility prior to the trial.  Requests should be submitted to the civil division of the Clerk’s Office by fax (804) 501-4141 at least 72 hours prior to the time you wish to have the case tried.”

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has also been working with the United States Judicial Conference to accommodate trials using Zoomgov for cases in the Federal courts. New orders of the court are modifying its policy frequently and can be found here:

If you are facing an immediate need for litigation, especially at a time when everyone’s safety is at risk due to the pandemic, our attorneys are staying current on every court’s policies so that we can resolve our clients’ needs as quickly as practicable. Call the attorneys at Winslow & McCurry today 804-423-1382 or email us at We would like to help.