When will Courts go back to in-person hearings?


Most Texas State Courts have been conducting virtual hearings since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In the Spring and Summer of 2020, Courts, Attorneys, and Litigants had a steep learning curve to get acclimated to virtual hearings.

Courts have continued with virtual hearings since the COVID-19 pandemic began, through 2020, and now through most of 2021. Most major cities in Texas have stayed virtual, while many medium and smaller cities have started transitioning back to in-person hearings. Most courthouses have continued working, in some form or another, throughout the pandemic. Once the vaccines were approved, and a critical amount was administered, courts felt comfortable transitioning back to in-person hearings. Some in-person hearings began occurring in the large and medium sized cities in the Summer of 2021.

As of the date of this post, the COVID-19 Delta variant has spiked cases and some courts are either going back to virtual hearings or slowing/stopping their expected transitions back to in-person hearings. Each county courthouse makes decisions on in-person vs virtual hearings with each Judge having authority over their own courtrooms for details of mask wearing (or not), physical barriers in the courtroom (or not), and other accommodations.

In Texas, the Texas Supreme Court has issued many Emergency Orders regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster. This has guided the courts, attorneys, and litigants on what special, short-term changes have been approved for Texas State Courts.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, and new rules and recommendations are promulgated by the Federal, State, and Local governments, the status of virtual vs in-person hearings will continue to be in flux. Local attorneys in your jurisdiction, through the efforts of their local bar associations and courthouses, will know the status of your court and your hearing.