INFORMATION REGARDING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND COURT OPERATIONS
Updated December 7, 2020
OPERATIONS UPDATE - DUE TO CHANGES IN STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES, CLERKS' FILING OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. COURT CUSTOMERS WILL BE DIRECTED TO USE DROP BOXES INSTEAD. FOR CHANGES TO OTHER DIVISION OFFICES, (CRIMINAL, CIVIL, FAMILY LAW AND THE ACCESS CENTER, ETC.) PLEASE SEE BELOW.
All other changes to operations are reflected in the Presiding Judge's General Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All orders of the Presiding Judge are authorized by emergency orders or a statewide order by the Chief Justice of California and Chair of the Judicial Council.
The Judicial Council has approved 13 emergency rules due to the immediate and ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These 13 emergency rules have been added as Appendix I of the California Rules of Court.
Information about services in specific court divisions:
COURT TO REDUCE SERVICES STARTING DECEMBER 7. 2020
The San Francisco Superior Court is closing the Civil Clerk’s Office effective December 7, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court is following the City and County of San Francisco and Department of Public Health guidelines by reducing a large amount of its operations in order to meet social distancing and other health and safety rules.
However, even with the resumption of many court services, health and safety guidelines remain our top priority. Those guidelines apply to our employees and the public and will impact staffing levels and operations. Please note that the following rules apply to everyone coming to any of our courthouses.
- You must wear a mask or face covering to enter any court facility and during all times you remain inside a courthouse. The court will not provide masks or face coverings.
- If you are sick, please do not come to court. No one who is sick or is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be permitted to enter any court facility.
- Please expect longer lines and wait times. The court will follow social distancing requirements inside and outside our facilities and some building access will be limited.
- Please note and adhere to the posted signs regarding social distancing, face coverings and health and safety guidelines. Please wash your hands frequently. Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the courthouses.
The court encourages you to visit our website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org to see what services are available before you visit any of our facilities.
Law and Motion
The moving party should confer with all other parties before scheduling and noticing a hearing, then may e-file and notice the hearing in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 or other applicable requirements. The moving party need not obtain a hearing date or reservation number before filing the motion.
For all law and motion matters, the court will post tentative rulings and follow the procedures set forth in San Francisco County Superior Court Local Rule 8.3 et seq. All hearings will be conducted remotely by CourtCall or by videoconference. No in-person appearances will be permitted.
Ex parte hearings in law and motion matters are held daily at 11:00 a.m. by CourtCall. No later than two (2) hours prior to the hearing, the moving party must efile the moving papers and attach them to an email to the opposing party/counsel addressed to [email protected] with the subject line, “Ex Parte Application.”
A party presenting an ex parte application in the law and motion department for a temporary restraining order, alternative writ, appointment of a receiver, or similar matter must schedule the hearing with the court by sending an email to [email protected] at least 24 hours in advance of the proposed hearing date.
Hearings are conducted via Zoom Videoconferencing, please see the Law and Motion webpage for further information.
Any party who wishes to have a discovery motion heard, must confer with all other parties before scheduling and noticing the hearing. The moving party shall file a notice of motion setting the matter for hearing in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 or other applicable requirements.
The parties need not deliver courtesy copies of their filed discovery motion papers to Department 302. After filing the papers, they should attach copies to an email addressed to [email protected]. The subject line of the email should state the case name and number and the date of the hearing. The text of the email should include the name and contact information, including the email address of the attorney or party who will appear at the hearing.
Hearings are conducted via Zoom Videoconferencing, please see the Law and Motion webpage for further information.
The Complex Litigation Departments will continue scheduling telephonic conferences. Please continue to file opposition and reply briefs on the previously agreed upon schedule. If counsel need a continuance on their briefing deadlines, they shall meet and confer to adjust any briefing schedules, and then email the court on their agreed upon deadlines. Counsel should continue to meet and confer to prepare the statement and file these statements on the day their hearing would have occurred. Based on the filed statements, the court will set further dates.
The Records Public Viewing Room is closed. Records requests may be mailed or dropped off in the Court’s Dropbox located in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. There are no pick-up options for records requests. All records requests must have a self-addressed stamped envelope for returned paperwork. The Records Request Form is located on the Court’s website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org.
The Court continues to accept applications for civil harassment restraining orders. The Court Clerk’s office is closed, but there is a drop box in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. Within 24 hours of filing the request for a Temporary Restraining Order, the petitioner will receive a call to pick up the documents.
Civil Filings Office, including Probate Filings
The Civil Filings Office is closed until further notice. Filers are encouraged to electronically file, mail in their filings or use the drop boxes located in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. There are no document pick-up boxes. The filer must include copies and a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive returned filings.
Civil Courtroom Hearings and Proceedings
Where possible, courtroom proceedings will proceed via CourtCall or by another videoconferencing application. Please check the Court’s website at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org for the most recent updates regarding court operations. In addition, please use the Court website’s Online Services to access the most recent updates in your case.
Small Claims Filings and Hearings
The Court Clerk’s Office is closed until further notice. Small Claims filings may be submitted by mail or placed in the drop box located in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse. There are no document pick-up boxes. The filer must include copies and a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive returned filings.
To see the latest filings and calendar changes in an existing case, please access the court’s website online services at www.sfsuperiorcourt.org.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
At this time settlement conferences and judicial mediations are being conducted remotely by telephone or videoconference, unless notified otherwise by the court. Questions about an existing settlement session should be directed to the settlement judge/settlement officer. This applies to all general civil case. Probate, Family, Unlawful Detainer, Asbestos, CEQA and Complex cases should refer to the procedures of the department/judge presiding over that case. More information about specific alternative dispute resolution programs follows:
Judicial Mediation Program: The Judicial Mediation Program continues to operate, based on settlement judge availability and court capacity to administer the program. Mediations will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice. See the ADR page on the court’s website for more information about the program and the procedure for requesting a mediation: https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/civil/dispute-resolution.
General Civil Cases (not including Unlawful Detainers): Mandatory settlement conferences (MSCs) conducted by volunteer settlement conference officers will continue to be scheduled in advance of the trial date as long as the Court maintains capacity to administer the program. The Court will attempt to schedule MSCs in as many cases as possible but does not have the capacity to set MSCs in all cases. MSCs will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice. See Local Rule 5.0 for more information about MSCs.
General Civil Cases: The Voluntary Settlement Conference (VSC) program will continue to operate. The Court has civil trial judges available to conduct remote settlement conferences. If parties are interested in a VSC, counsel (and self-represented litigants) should confer with their clients and with each other and if all parties agree to participate in a remote VSC they should contact ADR Administrator Elizabeth Kelber at [email protected] or, if the trial date is quickly approaching, they should be prepared to advise the Presiding Judge at trial call of their interest in a VSC. Only cases where all parties agree will be considered. Inclusion in the program is based on judge availability. VSCs will be conducted remotely via telephone or videoconference until further notice.
The Probate Division is continuing its operations with appropriate modifications.
For the most current information on Probate Division proceedings, including information on remote appearances, please see the most recent General Order of the Probate and Mental health Division, which is available on the court’s website at https://sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/probate.
UNIFIED FAMILY COURT
Beginning June 8, 2020, the Clerks’ Offices are open Monday through Friday, (except on holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., pending further notice.
Drop boxes for Unified Family Court (UFC) are placed outside of each clerk’s office in rooms 103, 402 and 101, which can be accessed and utilized Monday through Friday (except on holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., to avoid waiting in line. The clerks’ offices are located at:
- United Family Court Clerk’s Office (includes Family Law, Juvenile Dependency and Child Support filings, 400 McAllister Street, Room 402.
- Juvenile Justice Center Clerk’s Office, 375 Woodside Avenue, Room 101.
For general updated information related to the Unified Family Court operations, please go to https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/ufc. Please be advised that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your case may proceed telephonically, by videoconferencing or by personal appearance in the courtroom. If you personally appear for your case, all UFC courtrooms will follow social distancing guidelines and you will be required to wear a mask or face covering.
Departments 403/404 will continue to post tentative rulings scheduling mediations and hearing dates pursuant to San Francisco County Superior Court Local Rule 11.7(D)(3) and
California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1308(a)(1). Please go to https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/ufc/tentative-rulings for tentative ruling instructions. All hearings will be conducted telephonically or by video conferencing. In person appearances will be permitted at the discretion of the judicial officer.
Department 405 trials and judicial settlement conferences will be rescheduled following a trial setting conference. All trials will be conducted telephonically or by video conferencing. In person appearances will be permitted at the discretion of the judicial officer.
Departments 406/425 hearings will be conducted telephonically or by video conferencing. In person appearances will be permitted at the discretion of the judicial officer.
Department 3/4 at the Juvenile Justice Center will be conducted telephonically or by video conferencing. In person appearances will be permitted at the discretion of the judicial officer.
Department 416 hearings will be conducted telephonically.
- 403/404 Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- 405 Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- 406/425 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- 416 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Dept. 3/4 Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Criminal Office will close to walk-in service on Monday, December 7, 2020 until further notice. Phone service will remain available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please call (415) 551-0651 and ask to speak to a clerk. It is highly recommended that you phone the criminal office as many services are now available over the phone, online or by mail.
Also see our website for more information. The drop box remains available outside of room 101 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Traffic Office will close to walk-in service and Department A and C will close to walk-in service and Department A and C will close until further notice beginning Monday, December 7, 2020. For service regarding your traffic matters, please phone the traffic office at (415) 551-8550 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and ask to speak to a clerk.
Many services to resolve your traffic matters are available over the phone, online or by mail. See our website for more information. If you have a matter scheduled for court, your matter will be rescheduled, and you will receive notice of your new court date.
You may also call the office at the number above for more information. The drop box remains available outside of room 145 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Court Collection services in Room 101 will close to walk-in service on Monday, December 7, 2020 until further notice. Phone service will remain available from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please call (415) 551-0670 and ask to speak to a clerk.
To make a payment on delinquent court-ordered debt, contact Alliance One at (877) 541-8420 or at WWW.PAYAOI.COM It is highly recommended that you phone the court collection unit as many services are now available over the phone, online or by mail.
The drop box remains available outside of room 101 and is accessible Monday-Friday, except holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
State and County Public Health Officers have designated the Court and its operations, including jury trials, essential. Therefore, if you have been summoned for jury duty, please report as directed. The court must hear essential cases. You may check for your reporting instructions by accessing the Jury Reporting Instruction page on this website, or by calling 415-551-3608.
Our Court is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment, and will take all steps necessary to adhere to all public safety and social distancing guidelines. Social distancing guidelines will be followed and a smaller number of prospective jurors will be instructed to report on any given day. Those prospective jurors who are not feeling well or who have COVID-19 symptoms, must stay home and should contact the Jury Services Office at (415) 551-3608 for further reporting instructions. Face masks are required to enter the Courthouse and shall be worn at all times when reporting for jury service in person. The Sheriff’s Department will monitor the security lines and the Jury Assembly Room to ensure that all prospective jurors are engaging in social distancing. The Court will provide a clean and sanitized Jury Assembly Room, as well as all courtrooms to be used for trials. The Court will work in conjunction with the San Francisco Department of Health to ensure the safety of all prospective jurors. Thank you for your service.
Self-represented litigants may visit the ACCESS CENTER webpage at https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/self-help for information and assistance via online chat, telephone helpline, online survey inquiries, and for legal informational material in the self-help FAQs library. These services are currently available and do not require a visit to the courthouse.
All other substantive and procedural information and assistance will be provided remotely by telephone and online inquiries only.
There are no onsite services available.