Last Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Maryland courts are currently closed to the public; however, the courts will continue to hear certain types of emergency matters. Most courthouses are operating with essential staff only and are experiencing high call volumes. Please take time to review the information on this page before calling a specific court. The information on this page is subject to change.

Current Cases
Most court cases will not be heard. They will be rescheduled and the court will contact you with a new date. If you are not sure about your case, call the Circuit Court or District Court.

If you have a hearing for the following types of cases contact the Circuit Court or District Court. A judge will decide whether your case needs to be heard in person, whether it can be held by videoconference, whether it can be rescheduled, or whether it can be resolved without a hearing:

  • Domestic violence hearings (New cases: contact a District Court Commissioner)
  • Peace order hearings (New cases: contact a District Court Commissioner)
  • Extreme risk protective order hearings (New cases: contact a District Court Commissioner)
  • Family law emergencies (custody, child access, visitation, support)
  • Shelter care or adjudications (Child in Need of Assistance (CINA))
  • Emergency delinquency hearings
  • Emergency guardianship matters
  • Temporary restraining orders
  • Emergency habeas corpus petitions
  • Criminal competency matters
  • Contempt relating to peace or protective orders
  • Matters involving locally incarcerated defendants

Domestic Violence and Peace Orders
If you are in need of protection and are seeking a peace or protective order, or an extreme risk protective order, call the District Court Commissioner in your county or Baltimore City. Your request will be heard. Call first to provide information and for instructions on where to go. Once the commissioner issues an interim order, a judge will determine whether the next hearing must be heard in person, can be heard with remote electronic participation, can be scheduled after the emergency period has ended, or can be resolved without a hearing.

Some Cases May be Expedited
Judges will be reviewing interim orders that involve an order to vacate the home, an issue of child custody, or firearms. If a judge determines a hearing is required, a temporary protective order hearing will be held within 7 days of the interim order. The court will notify you if your case will have an expedited hearing.

Types of cases that are still being heard
The courts will continue to hear the following types of cases:

In the Circuit Courts:

  • bail reviews
  • bench warrants
  • arraignments for detained defendants
  • juvenile detention hearings
  • peace order petitions (juvenile respondents)
  • emergency evaluation petitions
  • quarantine and isolation petitions
  • extradition cases
  • body attachments
  • extreme risk protective order appeals

In the District Court:

  • bail reviews
  • bench warrants
  • emergency evaluation petitions
  • quarantine and isolation violations
  • body attachments

District Court Commissioners (Call first. See the Directory):

  • new protective order petitions
  • new peace order petitions
  • new extreme risk protective order petitions
  • initial appearances
  • applications for statement of charges
  • acceptance of bail bonds
  • bench warrant satisfactions

Filing deadlines and statutes of limitations
New Cases. All deadlines established by Maryland law or court rules that have to do with new matters that must be filed in Maryland state courts are tolled or suspended effective March 16 by the number of days the courts are closed. This means that as of March 16, if you were required to file a document by a particular date, that deadline has now been extended by the number of days the courts are closed to the public during the COVID-19 emergency.

Pending Cases. All deadlines established by Maryland law or court rules in existing cases, including juvenile matters, are tolled or suspended effective March 16 by the number of days the courts are closed. If you file court documents between March 16 and when courts reopen to the public, your filing will relate back to the day before the deadline expired. This means if the deadline would normally have been during the time courts have been closed to the public, and you file during that period, your filing will be considered timely.

Scheduling Orders. If you have a scheduling order in a civil or family law case and you want the court to consider changes to that order, submit a motion to the court. The court will consider your request.

Filing court documents while courts are closed
The court will continue to accept documents filed electronically through MDEC, by mail, and in person. If you plan to file in person, all courts have a drop box. Contact the individual court for more information on where and how to use the drop box.

During this emergency, the filing date will be considered as follows:

  • MAILED FILINGS:  the postmark date.
  • DROP BOX FILINGS: The previous business day, unless there is a timestamp on the drop box.

Self-help centers and law libraries
Walk-in self-help centers and law libraries are closed to the public at this time. The Maryland Courts Self-Help Center is available to provide help by phone and chat.

PHONE HOURS: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Call to speak with an attorney:  410-260-1392

CHAT HOURS: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Chat online with an attorney at: https://mdcourts.gov/selfhelp/mcshc.

Law Libraries
Selected court law libraries are responding to information requests from the public and attorneys via phone or email.
You may also submit your question to Ask a Law Librarian.  
At this time, there is no physical access to any Maryland court law library.

Getting a copy of a court order
Call the Clerk’s Office in the court where your case is pending to request a copy of the document. There may be a fee for the copy.

Evictions and failure to pay rent cases
All pending evictions are stayed by order of the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. This court is not hearing failure to pay rent cases at this time.

All pending home eviction orders have also been stayed. This means that you cannot be evicted from your home during the emergency. In addition, sheriff’s departments in most Maryland counties have been ordered not to conduct evictions that have already been authorized during the present emergency. You can see those orders here.

Governor Larry Hogan has issued an order requiring that the court cannot issue a judgment for possession or warrant for restitution (the documents required before you can be evicted) if you can show you suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 virus or the state of emergency. Individuals can file court documents and start new cases but it is not clear when those cases will be heard.

Foreclosures
Home foreclosures pending in the courts have been stayed by order of the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. That means if you have a foreclosure case it will not be heard until the court orders otherwise. Individuals can file court documents and start new cases but it is not clear when those cases will be heard. The court may lift the stay to allow some foreclosures to proceed if it would be a hardship for the homeowner not to proceed.

Auctions are only part of the foreclosure process. Auction sales must be ratified by the court. Through a new Administrative Order on foreclosures issued March 25, 2020, ratifications have been stayed by the court. Any individual that has questions regarding foreclosures should consult with their attorney or they may contact the Maryland Self Help Center (by phone) at 410-260-1392. During the COVID-19 public health emergency, phones will operate until 4:30 p.m. Online chat will operate until 8:00 p.m.

Marriage Licenses
Marriage licenses are only being issued in emergency cases. For example, this could include instances involving military deployment, severe health issues, or medical insurance issues involving an applicant. Individuals seeking a marriage license should contact their local clerk’s office.

Water, electricity or other utilities
Governor Larry Hogan has issued an order requiring that no electric, gas, sewage disposal, telephone, water, cable, or internet provider can terminate your service if it is being used in your home, until the health emergency is over.

A company providing those services cannot charge you a late fee during the health emergency.