New filings in the U.S. Supreme Court fell more than 16% in the last term compared with the prior year, as the novel coronavirus crisis ushered in unique and complex challenges for lawyers and the judiciary alike, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said Thursday in his annual report.

Filings generally fell starting in March at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberts said in the annual year-end report that is released on the last day of the year. The high court recorded 6,442 filings in the 2018 term and 5,411 filings in the 2019 term. Roberts said the number of cases on the Supreme Court’s paid docket decreased 7%—1,595 filings in the 2018 term to 1,481 filings in the latest term.

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