The Texas Supreme Court has updated its emergency order to extend remote proceedings in civil and criminal cases through April 1, 2022. It further permits municipal and justice courts to continue modifying or suspending pretrial or trial hearing deadlines through March 1, though the order does urge those courts to “move swiftly to return to regular pretrial and trial proceedings as soon as reasonably feasible before March 1.”

TCJL has joined with the Texas Apartment Association and other groups to urge SCOTX to address the growing backlog of eviction proceedings, to which justice courts in many counties have simply turned a deaf ear. In many cases these courts have compounded the effect of eviction moratoria by refusing to allow landlords to initiate actions and conduct pretrial proceedings pending termination of the moratoria, significantly impeding the process. While there is no question that the pandemic has resulted in widespread hardship for tenants (alleviated to some extent by rent assistance), the larger concern for the civil justice system in this situation has been the inability to access the court system at all for redress of legitimate claims for an extended period of time. We are pleased to see that this emergency order acknowledges the importance of getting justice courts back on track in full compliance with their statutory duties.

You may read the order below.

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