COURTS and judicial offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and other areas that are under the general community quarantine (GCQ) may physically open starting next week with a skeletal force of at least 30 percent up to a maximum of 50 percent, according to the Supreme Court (SC).
In an advisory, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo said on Friday that his directive would take effect beginning on May 17 until further notice.
Allowed to physically open are all first and second level courts, and appellate collegiate courts, except the high tribunal, and the judicial offices in Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal, and other areas under GCQ.
The NCR Plus is under GCQ from May 15 to May 31.
“Judges in the above areas may conduct fully-remote video conferencing hearings during this time with notice to the Office of the Court Administrator, provided they will be within their respective judicial territorial region,” reads Administrative Circular 33-2021.
It added that courts and judicial offices in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) shall continue to be physically closed.
However, ECQ and MECQ areas shall continue to conduct though fully-remote video conferencing so as not to delay the trial of cases and court processes.