McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli







SB 1208 concerns rules for judicial emergencies.

SB 1208 was authored by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and was signed in to law by Governor Jerry Brown on August 24, 2018 as Chapter 201. It took place January 1, 2019. The law creates new authority for the judiciary to deal with emergency situations in California to allow for the orderly operations of the courts.

According to the Judiciary Committee, recent emergencies like the fires in Sonoma County and Southern California as well as mudslides in Montecito have drawn attention to the need to modernize existing statutes and provide courts with more flexibility in responding to these and other emergency situations.

The Senate Floor Analysis on SB 1208 provides that this bill updates Section 68115 of the California Government Code to replace certain enumerated emergency situations, such as pestilence and insurrection, with acts of terrorism, natural disasters, epidemics, and other substantial risks that threaten the orderly operation of the courts, in order to ensure that the judicial system is granted proper flexibility to respond to such incidents.

SB 1208 also allows the Chairperson of the Judicial Council to authorize extensions of the deadlines for bringing civil cases to trial when certain emergency situations occur that are specified in the statute. At the request of a presiding judge in a county, the Chair may grant further extensions upon making a renewed determination that circumstances warranting relief continue to exist.

The supporters of the bill included California Defense Counsel, the Civil Justice Association of California, and the Judicial Council of California.

You can find a full transcript of today’s podcast here.