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Federal Circuit Ends In-Person Oral Arguments Indefinitely

Law360 (May 18, 2020) – “The Federal Circuit on Monday suspended in-person arguments “until further notice” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, abandoning its month-by-month approach to extending remote oral arguments. Chief Circuit Judge Sharon Prost’s new administrative order removes the expiration date from a March order limiting access to the courthouse and calling for hearings to be held over the phone. She said the move was made “in the interest of providing greater predictability” to attorneys, given complications rising from the court’s national jurisdiction. “Counsel appearing in cases before this court are currently subject to various approaches to, and timeframes for, community recovery and reopening, which may impact their ability to travel for argument,” Judge Prost wrote. The Federal Circuit had been deciding each month whether oral arguments could be held in person. Arguments were held over the phone in April for the first time ever and they were virtual again in May. The court had announced last week that June arguments would be virtual as well. Attorneys who argued during the first set of phone hearings had said the process was technically smooth, even if it couldn’t fully replicate the experience of being in a courtroom with the judges deciding their clients’ fates…”

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