The continuing impact of COVID-19 on Court operations and the entire Judiciary has made it necessary to adopt additional preventive and mitigating measures in order to minimize the spread and exposure to COVID-19 while maintaining access to the Courts.  An additional measure to prevent the spread and exposure to COVID-19 besides wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, sanitizing, and getting fully vaccinated and boosted, is to limit in-person or fact-to-face contact.  The goal is to do what can be done safely.  It is with this in mind that the Judiciary implements the following practices and procedures.  These practices and procedures apply to all Court users and visitors.

1          Limited in-person appearances.  Because of limited space, maintaining a safe distance inside a courtroom may require limiting access to spectators.  Thus, at the discretion of the presiding justice or judge, the number of people allowed inside a courtroom to attend a proceeding may be limited to the actual participants (parties, counsel, interpreter, witness) and Court staff – court clerk and marshal. Also at their discretion, the presiding justice or judge may email issued orders to the attorneys and/or pro se litigants so as to minimize trips to the Clerk of Courts to retrieve the order(s) in person.

2          Remote Proceedings.  It is clear that COVID-19 will continue to affect the normal operations of the Courts for many months.  However, through the use of technology people can continue to access the Courts remotely/virtually, assuming they have the necessary means to do so.  At the discretion of the presiding justice or judge and pursuant to applicable laws, proceedings in civil cases and certain proceedings in criminal cases may be held remotely.

3          Emergency proceedings.  Unless otherwise ordered by the presiding justice or judge, emergency proceedings will continue to be handled in accordance with the rules governing the same.

4          Oral Arguments at the Appellate Division.   Because appellate arguments involve a limited number of participants and courtroom space can accommodate safe distancing, In-person arguments will continue to be available.   However, counsel or pro se litigants who wish and are able to appear remotely can do so by notifying the Court, in writing, at least one week before the scheduled date of oral argument.  Those who wish to appear remotely will be provided a Zoom link.

5          Probation monitoring.  To minimize in-person or face-to-face monitoring, probation officers should employ technology in carrying out their monitoring duties, i.e., telephone call, text messages, emails, FaceTime, etc. to the extent this is feasible.  Such remote supervision may not be possible where the circumstances of the case make remote supervision impossible or the Court has specifically ordered in-person or face-to-face supervision.  

6          E-filing.  Attorneys who are able to e-file are urged and encouraged to do so.

7          Court forms available on the Judiciary’s website.  The following forms can be accessed through the Judiciary’s website (palausupremecourt.net):  

  • Small Claims Forms
  • Domestic Violence Forms
  • Petition to settle estate Forms
  • Adoption Forms
  • Guardianship Forms                                                   
  • Fee Waiver Forms
  • Application for Employment
  • Remote Court Proceeding Request Forms

            Court users who need these forms and have the ability to obtain them through the Judiciary’s website are encouraged to do so.  However, if you do not have access to the website, you can obtain these forms from the Office of the Clerk of Courts in Koror or Ngerulmud.  To avoid waiting in line and to minimize in-person contact, call first to any of the numbers listed below, identify yourself and ask to speak with a clerk, tell the clerk what form(s) you need, and the clerk will give you a date,  time, and where to pick up.  If you have access to a computer or a smartphone, you may send an email or text to the Chief Clerk of Courts, Allison I. Sengebau, instead.

For notary services, please see the list of available notaries public that will be posted on the Clerk’s Office bulletin and door.  For all other services, please call the numbers listed below.

            Clerk of Courts, Koror: 488-2607 or 775-4914 (for texting)

            Clerk of Courts, Ngerulmud: 767-2607

8          Court Hours and Staffing.  The Judiciary will continue to remain open during regular working hours.  However, because of COVID-19, we may experience a shortage of staff to answer phone calls.  We therefore ask and encourage that queries and requests be sent by email to Allison I. Sengebau at asengebau@palausupremecourt.net.  We will do our best to prioritize incoming queries, requests and filings, but there might be some delay in responding.

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