Last Updated: Friday, March 27, 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 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
  • 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

If you are not sure about your case, call the Circuit Court or District Court.

Filing deadlines and statutes of limitations
Filing deadlines and statutes of limitations still apply, unless otherwise ordered. Maryland’s Chief Judge, Mary Ellen Barbera, has ordered that statutory and rules deadlines related to the adjudication of criminal and juvenile matters are suspended and will be extended by the number of days that the courts are closed, but for no less than 21 days after the first day the court reopens. All other rules and deadlines remain the same, including all those related to civil (non-criminal) matters.

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.

Thurgood Marshall State Law Library is closed for the duration of the Administrative Order Extending the Length of Statewide Judiciary Restricted Operations Due to the COVID-19 Emergency (and other applicable administrative orders). Library staff continues to respond to legal information requests from both the public and the Judiciary. To submit a request, use the Ask a Law Librarian question form. (Updated March 26, 2020)

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.

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.