Announcements, resources and event changes that may affect South Carolina Bar members. 

Visit our Practice Management Assistance Program's COVID-19 Resources for Lawyers including guides, policies, videos, and links to manage your firm and assist clients during a pandemic.

If you are a member of the public looking for legal assistance, please visit scbar.org/covidhelp.


South Carolina Court Announcements/Orders

See the S.C. Judicial Department's COVID-19 Information page. The most recent state-level orders and all recent circuit and county-level communications are also posted below. 

Rule 403 Trial Experiences (Oct. 14, 2020)

As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued this order permitting lawyers and bar applicants to complete the trial experiences required by Rule 403(b)(1) (civil or criminal jury trial) and Rule 403(b)(4) (day-in-court proceedings) by viewing recorded jury trial and day in court proceedings broadcast online via Cisco WebEx.  Read the full order.

Continuing Legal Education Credit for Service as a Poll Worker (Oct. 1, 2020)

To encourage lawyers to serve as poll workers in the upcoming general election, South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty released this order on Oct. 1 stating that attorneys may receive 6 hours of Continuing Legal Education credit in lieu of pay for serving as poll workers. Read the full order and access the request for CLE credit form.

Recording of In-Person or Virtual Court Proceedings (Sept. 29, 2020)

Taking still photographs, recording (visual or audio), or streaming of any live, virtual, or subsequently broadcasted court proceeding is strictly prohibited unless specifically authorized by the presiding judge pursuant to Rule 605, SCACR. This order from SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatyy includes, but is not limited to, all Circuit, Family, Probate, Master in Equity and Summary court proceedings. The written transcript remains the official record of any court proceeding.

Summary Court Operations (Sept. 25, 2020)

Beginning Oct. 5, 2020, magistrate and municipal court operations will resume normal scheduling and docket management, including in-person hearings and excluding jury trials. All matters may be heard in-person effective Oct. 5, 2020. Judges have discretion to determine whether it is appropriate to conduct a hearing using remote communication technology. The memo also covers preliminary hearings, bond hearings, non-jury trials, and jury trial plan submissions

Docketing of Cases for General Sessions Terms of Court (Sept. 15, 2020)

This order from Chief Justice Donald Beatty directs Clerks of Court statewide to designate a clerk to set the docket for each term of the Court of General Sessions. The designated clerk should work with the Chief Judge for Administrative purposes and should strive to set a full docket.

Court Operations Memo (Sept. 14, 2020)

Beginning September 21, 2020, court operations will resume normal scheduling and docket management, including in-person hearings in Circuit Court and Family Court, as well as General Sessions and Common Pleas jury trials. See full memorandum from Chief Justice Donald Beatty here

Waiver of Distance Learning Limitations for Magistrates and Municipal Judges (Aug. 28, 2020)

Magistrate and municipal judges may earn all or any portion of the CLE credit they are required to obtain for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year through online or telephonic program.

Protective masks in county and municipal courthouses (July 30, 2020)

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty issued this order July 30 requiring use of protective masks in county and municipal courthouses. The order states “all persons employed in, conducting business in, or otherwise visiting or present for any reason in county and municipal courthouses statewide are required to wear a protective mask or other facial covering while inside the courthouse…” subject to certain provisions.

Revised form SCCA 256B (July 24, 2020)

The Certification of Compliance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in Evictions  (SCCA 256B) bearing a revision date of July 2020 is approved for use in the Magistrate Courts of the State of South Carolina, effective immediately. This revised form SCCA 256B replaces the original version issued by previous Order dated May 6, 2020. See the revised Order.

Chief Justice Lifts Extension on 365 Day Rule (July 23, 2020)

On March 17, 2020, Court Administration issued a directive on behalf of Chief Justice Donald Beatty that those Family Court cases which are subject to be stricken from the roster pursuant to the 365 Day Rule be extended for 90 days prior to taking any action on those cases. Effective immediately, the Chief Justice has lifted the 90 day extension and the 365 Day Rule is now enforceable as written. All matters subject to the 365 Day Rule that are 455 days or older, and in which a motion for a continuance has not been filed, are subject to being stricken. Please be advised that the Chief Justice may revisit this decision in 60 to 90 days.

Waiver of Distance Learning Limitations for Continuing Legal Education Requirements(June 16, 2020)

Based on the continued development of issues caused by COVID-19 and a potential lack of available in-person courses, the Court has waived this restriction for the current annual reporting year. Accordingly, lawyers and judges may earn all or any portion of the CLE credit they are required to obtain for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year through online or telephonic programs. Read the full June 16 order.

Completion of the Essentials Series by Newly Admitted Members (June 16, 2020)

Based on the continued development of issues caused by COVID-19 and a potential lack of available in-person courses, this Court finds it appropriate to waive the requirement that a newly admitted member attend an in-person Essentials Series course. Newly admitted member may satisfy this requirement by completing an Essentials Series course online for the 2020-2021 annual reporting year.  Read the full order.

Amended Supplemental Guidance Regarding Lawyer and Judicial Disciplinary Matters  (June 15, 2020)


Circuit and County Announcements

  1. Courthouse operations by county
  2. Local orders and memos by circuit 

Visit the S.C. Judicial Branch’s website for the latest updates. 


Visits to the S.C. Department of Corrections (March 24, 2020)

In order to keep your clients and our staff safe, non-attorney visitation has been suspended and access to SCDC institutions is limited as much as possible to SCDC staff. Attorney visits to SCDC institutions have NOT been halted; however, attorneys are asked to postpone any visits that are not considered emergencies and to utilize phone calls as much as possible. Inmates’ attorney phone calls will take place in a confidential setting inside of the institution. If it is necessary for an attorney to visit their client during this time, the attorney will be subjected to the same screening as staff; their temperature may be taken and they will be asked a series of questions to ensure the safety of SCDC inmates and staff. If you have experienced, or have cared for someone who has experienced, any coronavirus or flu like symptoms, please send someone in your place to meet with the inmate. SCDC must take all precautions to ensure that this virus is not introduced into any of our institutions so as to avoid it spreading across the inmate population. 

If you have questions about this process, please email Boylston.Melody@doc.sc.gov or corrections.info@doc.sc.gov, and someone will respond as soon as possible. Response times may be longer than usual so please give SCDC plenty of time to process.


Federal Courts & Guidance

Centers for Disease Control

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention on Sept. 4, 2020 issued a temporary moratorium on evictions under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Read the full order.

United States District Court for the District of South Carolina

Please continue to check www.scd.uscourts.gov for updates. 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

See the latest upates on the court's COVID-19 announcements page. 


Out of State Courts

North Carolina

Updates from the N.C. Judicial Branch including county announcements and orders from Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and county-level information.

North Carolina Business Court (April 14, 2020)

See this order from Chief Business Court Judge Louis A. Bledsoe, III regarding all actions now pending in the North Carolina Business Court.

Georgia

The Judicial Council of Geogia's COVID-19 news and information page including links to statewide orders and orders by circuit.

Other Out of State Courts Information

List of court closings and restrictions across the country. (Law 360 has lifted its paywall for COVID-19 information). 


SC Bar Announcements & Updates 

All section and committee meetings are being held by conference and video calls. Most SC Bar employees are working remotely. The main SC Bar Building and SC Bar Conference Center are temporarily closed to visitors.

We will continue to provide essential services, but please bear with us if it takes us a little longer than usual to answer your calls or email messages.

CLE Opportunities   

The June 16, 2020 SC Supreme Court order waived the in person requirement for CLE hours for this compliance period. Lawyers and judges may now earn all of the required hours for 2020-21 online. 

Through March 1, 2021 the SC Bar will:

  • Live stream more than 40 CLE seminars
  • Archive and offer these programs + dozens more on-demand for 24/7 access
  • Offer more than 400 online, on-demand programs covering a variety of practice areas, including ethics and substance abuse/mental health

Our live and archived streaming technology has been fully accredited by the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE. View any SC Bar CLE program knowing content and technology meet all standards.

Check out upcoming programs and register today via our Shop CLE page

The CLE Division is not accepting walk-in orders for publications. You may still order books online or call 803-771-0333, ext. 126.  Orders will be shipped on Thursdays

For questions, contact CLE Director Terry Burnett at tburnett@scbar.org or (803) 576-3780.

South Carolina Bar Foundation

The SC Bar Foundation is committed to providing you with continued help in answering IOLTA questions, assisting with donations, and providing information regarding the Foundation as needed.  If you have to reach the Foundation for any reason whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact executive director, Megan Seiner via email at mseiner@scbar.org or at (803) 576-3786. 

Thank you for all that you do to support the SC Bar Foundation. The Foundations is so grateful for your continued generosity, especially now. 


Resources