CSAC Bulletin Article

Judicial Council December Business Meeting Recap

December 8, 2022

At its December 2 business meeting, the Judicial Council received a report with recommendations on how courts can use remote proceedings in civil cases while also providing equal access to the process for all participants.

Enacted last year, Assembly Bill 177 added section 367.9 to the Code of Civil Procedure, directing the council to convene a working group to consider and make recommendations on remote proceedings.

Among the Code of Civil Procedure Section 367.9 Working Group recommendations, the group identified strong support for making remote proceedings available, but not mandatory, in all civil case types when:

  • Courts, parties, and other participants have access to remote technology;
  • Clear and private communication between parties and their attorneys is available; and
  • Technology provides for clear communication between all participants and court interpreters.

Data collected for a companion report mandated by Assembly Bill 177 helped inform the working group’s recommendations. That data shows courts held more than half a million remote proceedings in civil matters over a period of seven months and more than 96% of the feedback collected from those remote users noted favorable experiences.

The Code of Civil Procedure Section 367.9 Working Group included judges, court executive officers, attorneys, court reporters, court interpreters, legal aid organizations, and court-appointed dependency counsel. In addition to its internal meetings, the group held an online public meeting (140 attendees) and received written comments to get additional input on the recommendations.

In addition to recommending which civil case and proceeding types are appropriate to conduct remotely, the working group also provided direction on procedural and technical guidelines; notifications to participants; and court reporter availability and official records of the proceedings. Per the legislation, the council will submit both reports to the Legislature and Governor for their consideration. 

Other items on the December 2 council meeting agenda included:

Recommendations from Judicial Diversity Summit: The council approved the 2021 Judicial Diversity Summit report and tasked its appropriate advisory committees with considering numerous recommendations. 

Strategic Plan for Judicial Branch: The council approved an update to the Strategic Plan for California’s Judicial Branch.

Court Adoption and Permanency Month: The Judicial Council continues to recognize the efforts of California’s juvenile courts and their justice partners to find safe, stable, and permanent homes for every child in foster care.

Strategic Plan for Technology: Due to time constraints, the council postponed consideration of an update to the judicial branch’s Strategic Plan for Technology and will move this item to a later business meeting.

The complete meeting agenda and council reports are posted to the California Courts Meeting Information Center. The center also contains an archived webcast of the entire meeting broken out by topic.

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